I have no idea what triggered this memory, but here it is:
When I was about 12, we were driving from Minnesota back to Oregon. Dad had decided to take us through the Badlands of South Dakota. We got to experience a fierce prairie rainstorm that had cars lining up on the sides of the road, waiting for the rain to slow down so they could see. There is nothing quite like those endless miles of unusual rock formations. These are called layered hoodoos:
We had stopped in a little town whose name I don’t remember. Dad gassed up the car, and on our way out of town there was a big sign advertising the Badlands Reptile House. Snakes. Lots of them. All in one place.
Good grief. My stomach rolled, my hands went clammy. And for probably the first time in my life, I deliberately defied my father, RIGHT to his FACE. They all wanted to see the snakes. Not me. I would never survive such a nightmare experience.
“Come on, we don’t have a lot of time. Linda? Come on!”
“No. I’m not going in there. You can’t make me go in there.” I was fully prepared to do the unthinkable and actually resist him physically if I had to.
I remember him standing by my car door, staring at me with very little expression on his face. I stared right back. I don’t know what he saw; I only know what I felt. Terror. Complete, incapacitating terror.
Finally, he said, “It’s going to be hot out here. Keep the windows open. We won’t be long.”
And that was that. I had thought I might fall asleep, but the possibility of a snake or two deciding to come visit me kept me awake and alert. That may have been the longest panic attack in the history of the world!
My dad was not a touchy-feely guy, and we never even discussed that event. Years later, though, when he was in his sixties, I was with him when we made a stop at his church property in South Carolina. He was meeting a man who was interested in buying the older building. Dad stopped the car, turned to look at me, and said, “You don’t have to come in, Linda. There are probably snakes in there. When a building down here stands unoccupied, snakes like to gather. I saw one up in the rafters the last time I was here.”
Wow. He remembered, and he understood. Which is why I came through that South Dakota experience with a whole skin 🙂
Once again, I waited in the car. And I remember thinking about be ing thankful for an earthly father who, though he was not emotional toward us, did a great job of teaching us, getting us interested in history, the things of the Lord, reading. He helped us build character.
And I am even more thankful for a heavenly Father who showed us the greatest love there is; Who understands what we don’t understand ourselves; Who is patient, forgiving, and merciful; and Who is, above all other things, holy. His holiness is the matrix for everything else that He is.
We are to be becoming holy. Christlike. If we who are believers were doing that, I am convinced we wouldn’t be in the dire straits we are in today as we face an election in which one candidate has called all of us who disagree with her a “basket of deplorables,” and another who seems to have a really hard time keeping his language decent.
And that ends my Sunday morning ramble. I pray that you all have a meaningful, edifying church service this morning, and that you come away refreshed and thankful for your heavenly Father.