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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Monday, July 10, 2006

SHEER Stupidity

I had such a good day Sunday--a rather serendipitous one! And I learned to thank God for His mercy and grace displayed in the way He protects us in spite of ignorant or foolish things we do.

Before some of you were in bed a few of us gathered at 7:30 for a time of worship. Then off I went to rent a car and go on a Holy Land adventure. Four kindred spirits joined me(Joyce, Elise, Frank and Jessica) and off we went to explore some of Israel on our own.

We circled the Sea of Galilee looking for jet ski rentals--no luck. We drove up the Golan Heights in search of an elusive hamburger--no luck. We had a convenience/grocery store lunch and then found a senic overlook with a spectacular view of the sea from the eastern side.

Next it was back down to the sea where we swam where Jesus walked!(or a least in close proximity to the spot) The breeze, water, view and company made for a wonderfully relaxing afternoon.

Our next venture was up to the Cliffs of Arbel. Another awesome view at a location rich in history(google it for more info). Everything was great and then some idiot had to suggest that we descend down the cliffs and mountainside below. Jess and Elise were quick to enthusiastically second my idea and so off we went.

The cliffs had some well placed handholds anchored in the walls. So the first part went well. Then we came to what looked to be the easiest part of the descent, the slopes of the mountain. The problem was we had not counted on the dry soil and loose rocks giving way under the weight of our feet. Once you started sliding stopping was almost impossible! Neither had we anticipated the thorn bushes blocking our path or the assorted thorns on the ground waiting to impale us every time a hand went down to stop oneself from falling. And did I mention that the swelling in my ankle was just beginning to get better? What was I doing?!

The view from a cave in the cliffs

Through the thorns

There were some positives to offset the negatives. We saw rock badgers playing and taunting us with their antics. A gazelle skampered effortlessly across the slope. And when at last we met Frank and Joyce waiting for us at the bottom, a large, whole Saint Peter's Fish was our reward at a nearby seaside restaurant.

I have a greater appreciation now for the meaning behind biblical phrases like "hinds feet on high places" and the deer panting for water--and anything that mentions thorns or firm footing! And I am extremely greatful for making it down the mountain in one piece.

A prayer went up to heaven when we reached level ground, "Thank you Father for caring for me even when I'm foolish and don't deserve it..."

Los Tres Amigos Locos. Doesn't look so tough from the bottom? Then you try it!