Thursday, July 06, 2006

Reason #34: He's a Four-wheeling Fanatic!

We recently purchased two investments: used four-wheelers, otherwise known as ATV's (all-terrain vehicles). We went further into debt for the sake of a cause: FUN! This was a deliberate choice we made as a family, as an investment into our sanity for staying in Alaska. I believe it was a response to the prayers of our son, when he was only seven years old, as we were traveling up the "Al-Can" highway, and stopped at a restaurant along the way just outside of Fairbanks. Ben prayed, "Dear God, thank you for this food, and help us to have fun in Alaska." We've been trying to do that for five years.

The kids have been having a blast riding the four-wheelers with DH. I went twice, and the last time I went it was just DH and me, so I drove. It was a beautiful day, and the trails were in good condition. I didn't get to enjoy the scenery very much, though. Between dodging branches and bugs, working to avoid deep ruts and rocks, and trying to keep up with DH at breakneck speeds, I had enough to focus on. Around every treacherous corner, I was afraid I would meet up with a bear or oncoming vehicle. All I could think about was the question, "Are we there, yet?"

I began to consider the analogy of a shopping excursion, a road trip, and an ATV outing. We all know that some people like to "conquer the trip" when it comes to taking a road trip. Those are the types that have an agenda, and a strict schedule. With military precision, they keep both hands on the wheel, and one eye on the clock. All bathroom breaks are coordinated and executed like a pitstop at a racetrack. Other people like to take road trips like a "Sunday Drive" -- ambling along, at leisure, meandering through country paths -- just out enjoying the scenery.

There are two ways to approach a shopping excursion, as well. One person (stereotypically, it's the man) goes shopping like he's a caveman out hunting in the wild. He stalks his "prey" and pounces on it, bags it and carries it out of the store. Another person likes to play on all of the senses (sight=colors; touch=textures, hearing=store music; smell=perfume; taste=samples???) for the total "shopping experience." Recent studies suggest that shopping IS theraputic, after all.

One person's relaxation and therapy can be another person's nightmare and torture! I guess that was the lesson I learned on that four-wheeling adventure. For DH, it was a rejuvenating ride out into the sunset; for me, it was a grinding-teeth, clenched-fist ordeal. All for the sake of FUN! Ah, the things we do for love!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Reason #33: He's a Fisherman and a Fisher of Men!

Two fishing trips in one week is unusual for my workaholic husband! But the salmon were "running" and the guys from church invited DH to go "dip-netting" in the Chitna River. DH took our son, Ben, for the second year in a row, on the excursion. Last year, they stood on the shore, after climbing down a treacherous cliff to get to the riverbank. This year, they were invited by someone with a boat, so they were able to maneuver the rough ridges and crevasses of the river better.

DH told me AFTER they came home that a man had nearly died the previous week at the same spot they fished. The man wore a life preserver, and was tied to shore with a safety rope, but the 47 degree water turned him into a "popsicle" quickly after he fell in, and it took rescuers over thirty minutes to pull him to shore. He was paralyzed from hypothermia, and suffered cuts and bruises from being dashed into the rocks, but he was alive!

The guys had fun, even though it was a lot of work, and the fish weren't as plentiful as they had hoped. They ended up staying the night on Tuesday, so that they could go back out for more the next day, after the rain and winds died down. They did not make it back in town for Wednesday evening mid-week service at church, which really surprised me.

Then, Saturday, DH went on another fishing adventure, ALL DAY! This time, they fished for greyling in a lake. It was raining and windy again, and they all got wet, but they got some fish, and we promptly fried it up and ate it, at the home of one of the fishermen. That meant that DH was gone all day and into the evening on Saturday, which is just unheard of. Saturdays are one of DH's favorite days to work in the office, because there is less traffic and distraction from people stopping by to see him, and all the staff members have Saturdays off.

As we crawled in to bed, DH weakly confessed, "I don't have my sermon finished or my Sunday School lesson." So, bright and early, Sunday morning, DH rose to face the day at 5:00am. He finished putting the "meat" to his outline of his sermon, and had to make a Powerpoint presentation, but the bulletin notes were already done and inserted into the bulletin.

"Change My Attitude" is the name of the sermon series that DH is preaching, and it deals with the Old Testament stories of Moses and Joshua. This time the subject was "Rebellion" and it was a powerful message. DH preached about how the Israelites grumbled and complained against their leaders, and the ground opened up and swallowed them, and fire zapped them, and plagues destroyed them. He remarked that it sounds like something out of a "sci-fi" movie, but that "this is serious stuff, folks!" Rebellion needs to be dealt with fully and completely.

Even though he didn't spend the usual obsessive amount of time at the office last week, DH did do a lot of fishing, both literally and figuratively. The culmination of the week was when he presented the message that God loves each one of us, and wants us to surrender our lives to His control, because He is a Good, Loving God. There are parts of our lives that we want to retain control over, and we try to rule our own destiny, but it is only out of rebellion.

As DH made his final comments, the conviction was so heavy it could almost be felt in the air, and the sound of crying could be heard throughout the sanctuary. Then, he masterfully "reeled in" the wayward hearts and led them to the altar of repentance. He had been practicing that technique all week in the natural realm; things of the spirit often mirror the physical.

The "fisherman" was also a "fisher of men".