Getting to Tucson was no joke. The trip started by a 5AM EST (3AM in Tucson) alarm in St. Augustine followed by a three-hour stop in Orlando before boarding flight #1 in Tampa. After a four-hour layover in Denver, the final leg of the trip landed me in Tucson; after a short ride to the AirBnB, I got in bed at 12AM. If you’re counting, that’s a 21-hour day. Not necessarily the smartest start to a weekend for running a half marathon.
When you arrive in the middle of the night to a place you’ve never been, you pretty much have no idea, nor do you really care, what that city has to offer. I apologize to you, Tucson, but I had no idea what you had in store for me when I walked out the door to go to lunch a few hours later. You slapped me in the face with this view:
I didn’t mind the surprise. In fact, I couldn’t get enough. For the next 48 hours, I kept shaking my head and saying to myself, and I guess to God, “What? This is spectacular.”
Maybe it’s because I’ve been in Florida most of my life. Maybe it’s because different is intoxicating. Or maybe it’s because most surprises just aren’t this good.
Regardless of the maybes, here’s what I do know. I will never get over that the Creator of things that slap me in the face also humbled himself to see me, to know me, to rescue me, to offer me hope, to say, “Just wait ’til you see what I’m making for you.”
On behalf of all who visit you, Tucson, thank you! You remind us there’s a matchless surprise to come!
Two weeks ago I completed a 14er. That’s what Coloradans call hiking one of their mountains that has an elevation over 14k feet. Not an easy feat for this Floridian.
In order to get to the top, I employed several mind games; some worth sharing, others are none of your business. I roleplayed being novel characters, rewrote song lyrics, and said “Lord, have mercy” the most ever in one day. And my friend Danny, who suckered me into this adventure, witnessed it all. Well, most of it.
(at the base)
Danny is a native. Pretty disgusting how easy this was for him (some of that none of your business mind games). And he’s a Cubs fan. Seriously-who needs enemies with friends like Danny?
All the way up and all the way down, Danny looked out for me. Sometimes right by my side, but most of the time yards ahead, usually within eyesight. It didn’t really matter, though, where he was. Knowing he was there somewhere was enough.
I never felt abandoned. Not by Danny. Maybe by my lungs, but not by my friend, guide, encourager. I didn’t always have my eyes on him, but I knew he was around.
(Danny capturing me ascending)
If we humans can do that for each other, imagine the depth that God can.
He’s everywhere simultaneously. He’s by my side, up trail, at the peak, and back in the parking lot, all at the same time.
He’s communicating constantly. Listening to my jokes, my whining, my singing, my doubting, my spoken and unspoken thoughts, and responding compassionately.
If anyone’s native, it’s God. Been around forever. Witnessing our everything. Created all those humans hiking up the mountain he spoke into being. Wise and discerning to give us Dannys. Whatever adventure he invites us on, the answer should be “yes.” You might call it a mountain climbing state of mind.
(from the peak)