Tough Sloggins

Years ago, my husband and I spent 3 weeks canoeing in Canada’s Quetico Park.  There were 5 of us, and we portaged 24 miles and paddled 150.  We went in to the park before it officially opened, so the ice had just melted.  It rained constantly for the first 10 days.  I would wake up each the morning, praying for sun.  By day five, the only way to cook supper was with our little cook stove since it was too wet to start a campfire.  On day eight, we arrived at a portage called Tough Sloggins.  In normal condition, it was a path of muck and goo that made the portage difficult.  With all the rain, we paddled through the portage, found a beaver slide to ride the canoes on, and went on our merry way.

Sometimes life seems like tough sloggins.  For us, the month of April was so.  Bill’s uncle passed, then my father graduated to glory.  He was the care giver for my mother who has dementia, so I spent a lot of time getting home health care lined up for her until she can get into an assisted living apartment. Our daughter has an inoperable brain tumor, and side effects from her medicine became apparent in April.  Driving home from my father’s funeral, I recalled the tough sloggins portage.  April was feeling like the muck and goo – except for the prayers and encouragement of our friends.  Those prayers saw us through.  Like the days of rain that filled the portage, the prayers made our way through April, and now May, easier.

So this is a thank you for your prayers, notes, flowers, and words of encouragement over the last several weeks. They have brought our entire family great comfort. Thank you for walking with us on this journey and for making this walk much easier.  In both word and deed you are Christ to us.


The Seduction of Power

The John Edwards trial has produced some interesting testimony, none more so than Andrew Young, the ex-aide who said the lure of power caused him to claim he was the father of Edward’s baby with his mistress.    “Being friends with the most powerful person on earth – there are benefits to that”.    Pride and power are seductive.  They are beasts you think you can ride, but they suddenly turn  devour you.   Young made a choice to lie, to assist in a cover up – all in the hopes of gaining influence and power from a man who might be President.

If he had stopped in the moment and asked the question – what are the consequences of this choice? – he might not have agreed to the cover up.  A well played game of “what if” can keep you from succumbing to the lure of lust, greed, or power.  Just imagine what would happen if you got caught.  What would you have to say to your family?  What would the headline in tomorrow’s paper be?  Had Andrew Young played ‘what if’ when he was asked to play a part in the cover up , he might have imagined the headline “Edwards Ex-Aide Says Power was Motivation.”  Write the headline that might appear if your choice to purse power got the better of you.  What would happen to your family, your business, and your friendships?  Would you be in prison?  Financially ruined?   A well-thought through session of “what if” can make real the potential consequences of falling prey to a lack of integrity.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”   Even more thought provoking, the Bible says: “Be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)  That came true for both John Edwards and Andrew Young.

Power, character, and integrity are a rare combination.  Which ones can you claim?