Monday, May 3, 2010

This is My Father's World

Hymn #144 in the Methodist Hymnal, our song of praise at yesterday's worship service, always makes me think of specific people from a specific event in my life so long ago.

The Hockenberry family, Mom and Dad and two sons, offered to take the youth group on a camping trip. They invited me to dinner for a planning meeting. They drank wine with their dinner. The dad had double vision and a bony butt. I didn't notice that about him, he told us. He couldn't sit on stone walls or logs because he didn't have any padding on his rear end.

Mr. Hockenberry (I don't remember any of their first names) asked me to pick a song we could sing on our trip. The first thing that came to my mind was, "This is My Father's World." It's not really a camping song so I kept looking and thinking for something more appropriate. Nothing measured up to my first inspiration so we went with that.

This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings and around me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world,
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
his hand the wonders wrought.

When I told my parents about the camping trip---a two day hike up a mountain in Yosemite National Park, staying one day at the lake and then two days back down the mountain---they advised me not to go. They knew I was not an athlete, that I'd never done anything like that before and that I wasn't used to "roughing it." But I was up for the challenge and besides, I'd never listened to my parents before, why start now?

I already had a backpack and a down sleeping bag, standard issue for hippies back then. I practiced for the hike one day by filling my backpack with dirty laundry and walking to my parents' house. We lived 7 miles apart. I did my laundry and walked back home. It was kind of a boring walk, but I made it.

It's a 6 1/2 hour drive to Yosemite from Orange, California. I have no recollection of the drive there or back, what vehicles we were in, who drive, nothing. But somehow we got there.

My first memory of the trip is hiking up the mountain the first day. I was near the end, lots of people were ahead of me. We each had a buddy who we shared a tent with and shared carrying the tent as well as our food. My buddy was Betty. I can't remember her last name. She lived across the street from me with her parents on Orange Street in Orange. She was a PE teacher with a great sense of humor and a gorgeous Himalayan cat. It's funny the things you remember about a person.

Betty was in far better shape than I was and chose to carry the heavier part of our load. It's a good thing for me that she did. We were told to bring a little extra food, something we did't like to eat, in case of emergency. If you don't like it, you won't be tempted to eat it before the emergency. One guy brought dog food. He said he likes to eat everything else. I wonder who that was.

It was beautiful at the lake. What a great feeling to be at a place that not everyone has seen.

This is my Father's world,
He shines in all that's fair,
in the rustling grass I hear him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

When it was time to head back down the mountain, I was ready. No proper bathroom, sleeping in dirty clothes, Betty as my only protection against wild animals in the night...I was ready for the comforts of home.

I thought the hike down would be easier but actually it wasn't. The constant weight pounding down on my knees was worse than the muscle strain trying to go up. I blame my knee problems on that trip. It's not so bad, whenever my knees hurt I remember Yosemite and it makes me glad.

This is my Father's world,
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King, let the heavens ring!
God reigns, let the earth be glad!


1 comment:

Linda said...

What a wonderful story!