Originally published Feb. 18, 2021 as a Lenten Devotional on oconeestreetumc.org
“There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
Footprints (author undetermined)
An elderly man, who had lived his life and left this world to go and meet his Maker asked the Lord a question.
“As I’m looking down on the paths I’ve trod, I see two sets of footprints on the easy paths.
But down the rocky roads I see only one set of footprints.
“Tell me, Lord, why did you let me go down all those hard paths alone?”
The Lord smiled and simply replied, “Oh, my son, you’ve got that all wrong!
I carried you over those hard paths.”
It had already been a long week, even though we were only two days into it. I had not been connecting with the most important people in my life, and was already overwhelmed with work, family, church and baseball commitments.
I woke up yesterday to find my work calendar was filled with back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings, the earliest of which I was already running late for.
Both my personal and work inbox were littered with requests for action items that needed to be finished immediately.
Somehow, I received more than a dozen texts in the span of six hours between 2-8 a.m.
My youngest children were relentlessly arguing. My dog was incessantly barking. And Carla was gone.
I rushed out of the house and into my car, only to find my eldest child left me a near-empty tank.
And halfway through my 50-mile trek to work, the check engine light popped on.
Every mountainous twist on HWY-441 brought fantasies of driving off the cliff. As someone who has learned to successfully live with clinical depression (through decades of therapy), I knew the path I was headed down was dangerous.
I asked God to find me.
The next eight hours were a blur. I know I successfully taught a class. I was told I impressed a VIP from the governor’s office in one of my morning meetings. I even received a “thank you” email from the parents of a prospective student to whom I apparently spoke with around noon. I managed to successfully lead a very long and potentially contentious faculty meeting. And in between everything, I somehow finished multiple reports that have been sitting on my invisible “to-do” list for weeks.
It was after 4, and I was eager to drive back to Athens to announce the opening day baseball game for Clarke Central and watch Jaydon get his first opening day start with varsity. I’ve announced several sporting events in my lifetime, but this one was special — I never imagined I would have an opportunity to introduce my child in a game.
First pitch was scheduled for 5:55, so I had plenty of time. Walking to my car, I checked my text messages for the first time since the morning. A message at 10:38 a.m. from coach read, “Game moved to 5 p.m. and will be a doubleheader.”
Surprisingly, this did not impact me like my morning did. I accepted that I would be late. I was sad that I would likely miss his first at-bat, but knew there were several other competent parents who knew how to talk into a microphone and do the job for me.
When I arrived at the Clarke Central baseball field, I rushed into the press box and as luck would have it, the first batter I got to announce was, “right fielder, #8, JAYDON DENNIS.”
It gave me goosebumps. And I watched with great pride as Jaydon beat out a grounder up the middle, stole 2nd and 3rdbase, and eventually scored the first run of the season for the Gladiators, as the team swept Oglethorpe County.
As I reflected on my day, I remembered asking God to find me. God not only found me, but carried me throughout the day, and dropped me off at one of the most memorable moments of my life.
Prayer: God, thank you for finding me. Thank you for carrying me when I was struggling to walk. Thank you for gently setting me down to fully experience the goodness of life.