For my friends K and J
I went for a quick ride the other afternoon to Jack's Lake again. It's the spot about a kilometre from where I live, though the ride is about 7-8 k round trip. The day before I had felt a sore throat coming on but thought I'd fight it anyway. At the lake's edge I startled a 6 inch garter snake, several giant grasshoppers, a tiny frog, and a couple of bullfrog tadpoles. All of these creatures were too quick for me and my net or the camera so I just enjoyed the moment.
On the ride back home, just as I was nearing the main highway, I caught sight of a few pine trees clinging to the side of a cliff. They are maybe a year old but intent on growing somewhere.
Both are about a foot tall. I always marvel at the ability of living things to take hold and thrive in the most inhospitable places. Consider mountain sheep or goats, the ones the big game hunters go after in the Rockies. Or bacteria in our gut. Or trees on cliff edges.
Last week I read an obituary in the paper about a woman who was a pastor in my city. I had met her once several years ago and she was a good friend (and pastor) to friends of mine. Her life ended quite suddenly. I sent a note to my friends about their pastor and the response I received has stayed with me. I'm paraphrasing here, but K said that life isn't always nice when people like their pastor die so young and people like me have MS, but that's why faith is called faith and not certainty.
So true. If it was certain, there'd be no gambling, literally or figuratively. And no need for faith.
If things were certain, there'd be no anticipation of that first kiss. No enjoyment of the small victories we experience like passing that huge geometry test. No fun at watching someone open the "perfect" gift you found for them after searching high and low for it.
Life wouldn't mean as much to us if it was fair and certain. We could not just enjoy the moments. And we could not glean deeper meaning from a year old tree clinging to a rock.