23 01 2012


          Wow, what a weekend! It was the type memories are made of.  Along with some friends, I participated in what’s called in these parts the Polar Bear Plunge event.  I’m sure you know what I’m talking about; take a cold winter day, a frozen lake, punch a hole in the ice big enough for about a hundred people to go running into 35 degree water and you’ve got the makings of the craziest party you’ll ever see! Now I’ve had many friends and family members who have been questioning my mental stability of late for doing such a stunt. My 1st thought is if it’s taken them this long to wonder whether I’m a little nutty or not then I’ve done a pretty good job of hiding it all these years. ;o)  All kidding aside it was an incredible experience and I’m glad I was able to do it, kinda one of those scratch another item off the bucket list moments. One thing though, that wasn’t the 1st time I found myself in icy water.

            It was sometime back during my grade school days and I was part of a Cub Scout troop.  My “Den Mothe,r” as the leaders were called, would pick up me and several boys after school once a week for meetings.  These meetings would be at her house for an hour or so where we would do crafts, play some games and have a snack before heading home. All the other boys in my troop would have their parents pick them up after the meeting, but my family didn’t have a car so I’d have to walk the mile or so home.  It wasn’t bad and I enjoyed the free time to myself taking an easy stroll home.  On this one winter day I left my den mother’s place and headed directly across the street from her house where a small creek ran.  The creek was frozen hard so I got out on the ice deciding to walk this frozen path out of the addition.  The addition opened up onto State Street, the main thoroughfare in Fremont, my home town.  I should have come up off the creek bed when I reached the street but I noticed this stream continued on under the road with traffic flowing above on a bridge.  The roar of the cars passing over echoed inside the opening and I decided to I would continue to walk on the ice till I reached the other side of the road.  Okay, here’s a little lesson maybe some of you already know but if not, trust me, its worth knowing.  Out in the open space the ice on a creek will freeze firm and solid, but place it under a bridge and you have a weak surface.  I was about ½ ways across the road when I heard sounds under my feet that told me I was in trouble.  Before I could think about what to do the ice gave way underneath me and I fell through up to my neck. Instinctively my arms shot straight out from my body keeping me from going all the way under.  I could touch the bottom with my feet, but there was a current that kept pulling at me.  I tried desperately to pull myself up on the ice to no avail; it would just give way under the weigh of my body.  But that also allowed me to break a path back the way I came till I was finally at ice firm enough to hold me and belly crawl to ground.  Finally able to walk, I made my way up out of the creek bed and on to the side walk on State Street.  I know I looked a mess, soaking wet, plain dirty and smelly like I’d been playing in a sewer.  Making my way home now, I noticed a lot of people staring at me as they drove by as if to say “now what in the world do you think that boy has been into?”  It put visions in my head of me jumping up and down, waving and yelling, “Hi, I just fell through the ice back there and nearly died and no one else on the face of the earth knows about it; have a nice day!”

           It was years later when I read about someone else who had fallen through the ice, but not surviving, that I examined that moment in my life where it might easily have been the final chapter of my life.  But for whatever reason my Lord has preserved me from harm (and personal idiocy) on a number of occasions over the years.  Got this feeling I’ve had a guardian angel that might be up for a long vacation when my days are up, for all I’ve put him through!  It comes down to this, friends and neighbors, none of us know how many days we have and as I’ve aged the thought has come to me that’s not the important issue anyway, not how long we live but how we live.  Someone once said; “The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.”  Interesting comment, but I also see all the items that the writer quotes can bring happiness in one’s existence.  I am at a level of immense joy whenever I can be placed in positions to be a help or make a difference, especially in someone else’s life.  God gives us that chance, I believe, every day of our lives.  The determining factor comes down to what are you going to do when the opportunity arises to make a difference. 

         You are special, because you are loved!  Loved by a Creator so captivated with you that He sent his Son to make a way for your path to joy, happiness, life.

         We don’t know what tomorrow will bring so what say we fill it with joy today?  If you don’t know where to start, try Proverbs 3: 23, 24 or 18:10.  For this man it gives him strength to face each day with joy and hope and the try to pass it on to others.  In the meantime I’ll just work at living each day to the fullest (with a little common sense of course) and look for opportunities to check more items off my bucket list of accomplishments.

So, who out there knows anything about being a rodeo clown?!! :o)





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