God has revealed his presence to me lots of times in lots of different ways. Last summer, when we were in Alaska, there were many “conversations” between him and me. He talked. I listened.
Mostly he said, “Look at all this incredible beauty I created. Enjoy it. Soak it up. There will be times when you need to reflect on this. It’ll help keep you going when you’re feeling tired, weary or mostly just caught up in the day-to-day routine called life.”
This past fall, when we used our fifth-wheel camper for the last time before putting it in storage for the winter, I went for a hike in the Superior National Forest near Lake Winnibigoshish. It was just going to be a short little walk to see the picnic area where Marv said he and his uncle had stopped to eat the lunch I packed for them a few weeks prior.
But I noticed a sign marking a hiking trail into the woods so I followed it. True to form, it was great. It led me past a stream and pond, over the hills deeper into the forest, even onto the cross-country ski trails for wintertime use.
Then, things got a little scary. I knew I was working against a setting sun, and I didn’t know how to get back to our campsite. I had committed at least three no-no’s — no compass, no cell phone, no companion. And, my family didn’t even really know where I was.
The harder I tried to find a trail that would lead me out, the deeper it seemed I sunk into the forest. I was getting more than a little concerned. I was starting to hit the “freaked out” stage. As I ran, I said a prayer to God asking him to show me how to get out of the woods.
‘Which way should I go?’
Nothing short of a miracle, I came to a fire service road. I ran in the direction that seemed to lead “out” versus deeper “into” the forest. It brought me to a gravel road.
Again, which way should I go? I chose “down” versus “up” because that seemed more likely to lead me to people. I hit a tarred highway and recognized the highway number as the one we had traveled on to get to the campground. Again, which way?
I figured I had to go south since none of the scenery looked familiar, meaning we hadn’t traveled this far up the road.
By now it was dark. I was wearing dark clothing. Luckily, the highway had a pretty-good-sized shoulder. I ran against the traffic for at least two miles before I saw the sign for our campground. Finally, I knew where I was! My heart was still racing plenty fast, but I could at least breathe again.
Yes, my family was very glad to see me when I walked into our campsite. Probably not as glad as I was to see them though! I didn’t tell them the full story that night. I just said I went for a walk and it took me longer than I had anticipated to get back.
God showed me his grace that night. By his grace, I made it back to the campsite safe and sound. Well, the sound part is questionable. I was probably in a slight state of shock at that point. But I was safe. And I was “home.”
God’s presence is a huge present, whether you’re seeing the sights in Alaska, going about your day today chores, or finding your way after getting lost in the forest.
Rita Meyer is married and the mother of four children age 16 and under. She and her family are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. Email her at email@example.com.