A Classic Re-post from 2002
If all has gone well we will be completing our 2013 North Manitou Manly Man Revival by the time you read this and we will be heading back downstate with stories to tell.
A few weeks ago I noticed that half of my son’ summer college break was over. Sitting on the floor of his room one night I said, “Let’s plan a trip this summer to hike and camp on North Manitou Island.” His eyes lit up. “Mike Oatis has done the trip a couple times and maybe he would guide us,” I said.
Kyle said; “I’ll call him.”
Mike agreed to take us to the island and be our guide. His wife and boys agreed to share him over the long July fourth weekend and the plans came together.
When I was a boy I read a lot about backpacking and hiking and camping. I had a Boy Scout Handbook and I wore it out reading about first aid on the trail, how to tie knots that would be useful in the wild and other outdoor skills. I knew how and were to pitch a tent, how to tend a fire. I read all about it. I talked about it. But I never really did it.
Sometimes I would go to the school library and read copies of Outdoor Life and Field and Stream and fanaticize about outdoor adventures. I read about men braving wind, rain, cold and other elements. I read about pristine mountain lakes and trails through pine forests. I would imagine myself with others around a campfire, sitting on a log, eating some hearty stew and telling stories. I would dream about lying in my tent at night listening to the owls and crickets.
Once I read a wonderful book about a boy who lived in a hollow tree for a whole year. He caught his own food and foraged for berries and nuts. He trained a falcon and made his own clothes from the skins of animals. I thought that would be neat, maybe someday I could do something like that.
I read a lot of books and magazine articles about outdoor adventures but I really didn’t ever plan them and carry out my plans. I was a victim of dead-end good intentions.
Reading is a really good idea. Information is vital. Planning is very important especially if you are going to do something that puts your very life at risk, but you can spend all your time bent over a map or curled up with a book and never get around to actually doing anything. You can let the whole world pass by and never get out of the chair. It is a trap to spend a lot of time talking about doing something, reading about doing something, planning to do something, absurdly enough, even singing about doing something, all the while really never actually doing anything.
Well, we planned our trip to North Manitou Island, and we pulled it off. I kept a careful trip journal through the whole wonderful experience. I’ll save those stories for another time. But we arrived home Saturday evening with the memory of an adventure tucked in our hearts forever.
God has unforgettable adventures for each of us but we have to be careful to do more than just read about them, dream about them, and sing about them. James was the brother of Jesus and the finest of pastors. He knew the traps that rob people of the joyful adventures of faith. He said, “Be doers of the word not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Sometimes we can fool ourselves into feeling like we really did something when all we really did was read about it, talk about it, think about it, or sing about it.
When God has spoken, the adventure does not begin when you read about it but when you pack your gear and hike into the wild with Him. Take it from a guy who knows, on your adventure with the Lord Jesus you will want to keep a journal. You will have your own stories to tell.
(From Stonebridge Newsletter Number 93)