I was raised to believe that the quality of a man’s life would greatly increase, not with the gain of status or success, not by his heart’s knowing romance or by prosperity in industry or academia, but by his nearness to God. It confuses me that Christian living is not simpler. The gospel, the very good news, is simple, but this is the gate, the trailhead. Ironing out faithless creases is toilsome labor. God bestows three blessings on man: to feed him like birds, dress him like flowers, and befriend him as a confidant. Too many take the first two and neglect the last. Sooner or later you figure out life is constructed specifically and brilliantly to squeeze a man into association with the Owner of heaven. It is a struggle, with labor pains and thorny landscape, bloody hands and a sweaty brow, head in hands, moments of severe loneliness and questioning, moments of ache and desire. All this leads to God, I think. Perhaps this is what is on the other side of the commercials, on the other side of the curtain behind which the Wizard of Oz pulls his levers.  Matter and thought are a canvas on which God paints, a painting with tragedy and delivery, with sin and redemption. Life is a dance toward God, I begin to think. And the dance is not so graceful as we might want. While we glide and swing our practiced sway, God crowds our feet, bumps our toes, and scuffs our shoes. So we learn to dance with the One who made us. And it is a difficult dance to learn, because its steps are foreign.

— Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

“If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.” — The Avett Bro’s just have the best lyrics. Always.

The first geese of the fall have been flying overhead the past couple of weeks, leaving the north country for warmer climes until spring. The leaves are continuing to change, and Beaver Camp (where I was today) is lovely in the fall (as it is in every season). Speaking of camp – I am now officially a level 3 on the Challenge Course! So…woo-hoo! That life goal is met. And I’ve now received a slight pay-raise, too. Not too shabby. 🙂

Which is also good, since that Subaru of mine needs a bit more fixing. But the muffler went at a good time, I suppose – better now than en route to Utah. Also, can I just say I felt boss when I succeeded in jerry-rigging it (w/ a bungee cord I more-or-less swiped from the Black River Drive-In) good enough to get it home alright?

In other news, I am now at 30 high peaks. (adk) Solo-ed Esther & Whiteface yesterday. (Thought it appropriate that my first true solo was on the only high peak named after a woman — or a girl, rather: Esther McComb, who at age 15 was the first known person to ascend the mountain; she was aiming for Whiteface.) Only 16 more to go, and planning to get 2 of those (Saddleback & Basin) in this weekend…but don’t worry family members of mine – I won’t be soloing those…


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