The deep azure of the of the water bled right into the dark sapphire sky textured with clouds waiting to pour out their glory. Soon we would find ourselves taking cover under a pavilion, still in chilly, damp swim suits with violent pops of electric summer lightning touching down all around us … the wind blowing the cool wetness horizontal.

I am absolutely certain that the strength of the storm on Friday evening
made the beauty and the calm of Saturday all the more clear, crisp and beautiful …
the sky no longer angry,
the winds laid low and still.

We camped at Mistletoe State Park. I booked our site months ago when I saw in their newsletter that another Dulcimer Jam Session was planned. I wanted Joy to get to see the dulcimer, an instrument not so unlike her own sweet violin. We brought along a friend of hers, Lizzy.

A few weeks ago when I went to Lake Lanier for a reunion of college friends, I got to visit with several friends that were once close. Like my friend, Kenneth, who has been a kindred spirit since high school, Stone and I have been friends since college. He was gracious enough to give me a ride home some weekends when our little school emptied, as I had no car and was a good two hours from home. But, after college, we lost touch. It was wonderful to see him and learn that our interests are incredibly similar. He is a Geologist … he loves rocks.  He’s an avid camper and biker, as well.  He and his son do a good bit of camping, so we decided we might do some joint adventures with our families.  I was quite disappointed his son couldn’t join us this past weekend, but Stone came along for part of our adventure.

Stone does a good bit of forest travel so he is good with a compass.  He offered to teach us orienteering which is using a map and compass to travel from one marked spot to another without the help of a gps device. Being the sort born with Internal Directional Deficit Disorder (yes, I just made that up), this is something I would never try on my own and certainly couldn’t teach my Joy-bucket.

Lizzy caught on quite quickly. Joy and I were a little slower, but by the end of our adventure, I think each of us could have done it alone without a hitch. In fact, we completed the novice trail.

I’d like to go back and try the intermediate trail on my own.

As I stood over Stone’s shoulder and watched him orient the map north with the compass and then set our direction, according to our next destination point, my thoughts were drawn to God and His constant, steady direction in our lives.

Like the bold bright red needle,
that floats almost weightlessly within the casing of the compass ….
moving with our every move …
adjusting with our motion …
the Holy Spirit is within us offering us direction through our days and nights.

And by accurately sighting in our destination,
even when we find ourselves in a position to need to go around an obstacle
that, in fact, leads us off the straightest path from point A to point B,
the compass has been set in the direction we should travel.

All we need is to refer back to it
and again
to know we will reach the mark precisely.

The map, like God’s word, is a printed, tangible object
given to us for reference
to read, ruminate
and memorize ….

It works with the compass to lead, guide and direct us.
But, of the two, it is the God’s holy Spirit that is the more personal of the two.
Offering us direction … moment by moment … should we need to call upon Him.

We made it … from the first marker to the last
covering almost two full miles
without getting lost
because we had
a map and a compass.

I’m thankful for a wonderful weekend,
torrential storms with fierce lightning,
calm, clear skies and water,
an old friend sharing knowledge,
a reliable printed map,
a steady, free-moving compass,
and a wonderful parable between the physical and spiritual worlds in which we live.

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.

11 thoughts on “Orienteering

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