Pride. Don't ever go on a nature hike in the woods with it. Leave it at the cabin door, but take your compass instead.
"Son, there's a distinct possibility we're lost." I checked my cell-phone: zero bars. "By morning we can find our way out bud." A perspiration of fear rolled up my neck.
Zach stopped in his tracks. My ten-year old boy looked at me with his mother's soft blue eyes, a titanic trust, unsinkable.
All these useless thoughts plowed through my head, including the insatiable need to show my son how much I gleaned from watching "Bear Gryllss" on the Discovery Channel. I wished I could be like him now, except for the part about eating live bugs.
I gave my son a bear hug.
"Dad, you can let go now."
I didn't know if I made him blush, or if I was squeezing all the blood to his head. I combed his silk blonde hair with my fingertips, and kissed him on the forehead.
"Fire is critical, before dark sets in," I said.
I'll get some wood," he said, and started snapping twigs, and soon graduated to Chuck Norris sidekicks on branches.
I felt for my matches. Truth is, I couldn't start a fire without them, even if our lives depended on it. I'm no hero, just a dad.
It seemed my son kept looking back at me for comfort in my chiseled face. His tender eyes started to pull, then dig deep, like grappling hooks, and I feared it would scrape my heart, until I leaked into a puddle of fear.
"Dad! We better set up a trip-line?"
"You know. We tie a can or some light metal that makes a rattlin noise."
"You okay Dad?"
"I'm proud of you son."
After the line was set, we pulled over this large dead fir tree, brown and crisp for a towering fire. As the fire roared and the skies dimmed, I imagined it could be viewed from a satellite in space.
The sunset turned into a fiery ball, igniting the landscape of glacial boulders, and turned the fir trees into phosphorus green. We bundled up next to each other for the greatest show on earth. We can do this, I thought, while we chomped on our dinner of "Milky Way Bars."
"I've been thinking son. It's amazing how the sun is just in the right place for everybody to live." The brutish fire hypnotized him, but I worked it. "And you know how God gave us all this oxygen to make fire? That's no accident," I said. "You can't get this stuff on Mars."
"I get it dad." He never turned his head from the fire, and his face had that toasted rose color.
I leaned into the fire to find what held him. It burned underneath like volcanic lava of orange-red, but sometimes, unwinding blue. Soon I was transfixed, and watched as these channels or caves crumbled, exploded until swallowed in a sea of fire.
At times crackling, pops, and bursts would awaken our gaze to each other, and tighten our bond, until one snap, as it was, came from the dark world.
Our jaws dropped in unison. "Did you hear that?" I said.
Our line let out an ominous, "clink...clink...clank."
I lifted from my shoes, and grabbed a burning branch, swinging it wildly into the darkness, like a Neanderthal. "Hey! Hey! Hey!"
We heard something scatter into the bushes.
I smiled nervously at my son, whose rosy complexion turned white as a sheet.
"Hey bud, we forgot to save an extra chocolate bar for our friend."
I watched a faint smile crease his face. "I love you dad." He wrapped his arms around my waist.
"I love you too son."
We huddled until he fell asleep in my arms. I kept watch in the night, until this one tremor in my head seized all my thoughts. God, the father, never sleeps, and his eyelids never get heavy. It was then that I knew how delicately he framed the world, and by love he holds us in his power.
I cried. "Pity me father, as your lost and desperate child." A strange sensation of liquid fire: a lava of his love filled my breast, until it seemed God's love would consume us before daybreak.
As it happened we climbed from Gods palm, into the shifting daylight, never more alive.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.