Saturday, August 21, 2010


"i'm ready for our epic adventure:D" read the text from Allie.

We all had the same sense that a week in Montana's Glacier National Park with no wifi, cell coverage, or television would be just that: epic.

How would you define epic? Something that's the first of its kind? The last of a kind? Anything of unsurpassed, one-of-a-kind quality--be it exceptional, boring or just lengthy?

At take off I anticipated the timing of this trip would make it epic. We had derailed our de facto Nantucket plans in favor of family bonding in the wilderness on the heels of major transformation in each of us: Reid is off all medications and rocking mastery at a new school; Allie freshly home from two weeks of studying flute in Italy; Jim has a new tenderness and mercy that can only be explained by the Holy Spirit; and I am celebrating newfound liberty that comes from surrender.

Maybe it's the realization of what's coming down the pike that constitutes an epic. Only two more summers before Allie is outta here to college. How many more times will she and Reid be buckled side by side in the back of a car amusing themselves with inside jokes and snuggling their heads in a silent twin language?

Could it be the grandiose scale of the destination? Or the dismaying myth that we were headed to a place set apart by its remoteness. "Who goes to Montana?" was a phrase I heard more than once as I scrambled to find vacancies at one of the lodges within the park.

Allie could have coined the "epic adventure" tagline recalling previous trips. We once tracked Laura Ingalls Wilder history through the middle of South Dakota. Wherever we go, we seem to end up in some larger-than-life, atypical dynamic. (Picture paddling in large, lost circles of freezing rain with purple lips at nightfall in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota bailing, literally, on the camping with mosquitos concept.) defines "epic" thus:

1. pertaining to a long poetic composition in which a series of great achievements is narrated in elevated style

Waking up in a converted caboose cabin in the silent woods was poetic (and elevated, come to think of it). I actually heard God speak to me through the trees over coffee.

2. heroic, majestic, impressively great

Our lives committed to God become narratives of great achievements in which He is the majestic hero who saves us, lifts us to higher ground, dramatically delivers us, and shows Himself to be extremely impressive. Miles McPherson at The Rock Church has an online sermon series right now about historic Biblical narratives: stories about real people in real time involved in real drama.

This family trip was the capstone of a real victory God won in the very real battle autism wages in our daily lives. I am really glad He reigns!

3. of unusually great size or extent

Montana is epic. Effortlessly, it symbolizes God's majesty. Returning the rental car, Jim calculated we had clocked more than 19 hours on the road to see merely the northwest corner of "the last best place." The glaciers, the color of the lakes, the hugeness of the sky, the massive mountains visually dwarf the largest, widest, most obnoxious convoy of RV's you can even imagine. We are as nothing to Him and yet cherished as everything.

"Your right hand, O LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy. Exodus 15:5-7

"Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Exodus 15:10-12

Do your best, prepare for the worst— then trust God to bring victory. Proverbs 21:30-31