What is Faith?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lexi and Rocky Balboa

At 12 years old, I was the hero of Victoria Lane. The one all the other kids followed, not because I was beautiful, since I am very plain. Not because I was smart, for although I have a fairly high IQ, I was also dyslexic and ADHD which therefore made for not so smart choices. I was the leader because I was afraid of nothing.

I was always the tom boy of the family. The son my father never had. Even though I am sure I owned them, I don't remember ever playing with Barbie's. Give me a Tonka truck any time and I am a happy camper. Although I did not excel in sports, I loved them just the same and could never understand why girls could not participate in football, basketball and hockey.

While the gang wanted to go rowing in the Greenwich pond, I was the one who manned the oar, flexing my rippling mosquito sized muscles. I was the envy of the block including the boys. I told the best ghost stories so of course I was invited to all the slumber parties where no slumbering was done simply because I had scared the bejebeez out of them all, and left them quivering in their Bobby Sherman pajamas.

I loved a good challenge and was never one to walk away from a dare, even at the detriment of my own well being. I dare you to swallow a live ant. Done. I dare you to swipe the new David Cassidy album. Done. I dare you to punch Jamie Andrews in the nose. Done. I dare you to tell Mrs. Johnson the science teacher that she needed to go on a diet. I dare you to skip school. I dare you to run away from home. I dare you to drink the entire pint of Apricot Brandy. Id are you to play chicken in your brand new Cougar XR7 convertible. All done. No questions asked.

My unspoken mantra had always been "Do not tell me I can not do it because I will prove you wrong." To my recollection, there have only been two challenges I have not been able to conquer in my life time. One was walking to the top of Multnomah Falls in Oregon.

Did I ever tell you about how we came to Oregon? I think maybe I did, but in case not, let me tell you now. My kids and I wanted a change. We had been in California for a long time and were wanting something a bit more rural. How do we choose from the thousands upon thousands of cities in the US? There was only one way that I knew of. Put a map up of the US and throw a dart. We have been Oregonians since 1992.

My family and I have done a lot of exploring here in Oregon. We call these explores 'God trips.' We never really knew where we were going to end up, we just in the car and went.
One of our God trips led us to the discovery of Mutlnomah falls. We never even knew of their existence until by happenstance we came upon the cascading wonders after 5 hours of 'turn right here mom...turn left here...let's try this street.' We did the touristy thing and of course took in the surrounding falls but the falls and the lodge were what caught our attention the most. We all wanted to climb to the top.

My children's steps were brisk and they often backtracked to see if I were still coming. Being 150 pounds overweight, my steps were a bit more gingerly, and sadly I only made it half way to the overlook bridge. The crest would have to wait for another day or perhaps decade.

Flash forward 18 years. My granddaughter Lexi and I went on a God trip this past Monday and ended up at Multnomah falls. I had been training for this upcoming long explore of mine and was feeling a bit cocky. We made it to the bridge with no problems. Not only did I not huff and puff, but we carried on a conversation the entire way! We both looked at the sign that explained the top of the falls was only a meager mile away. Onward and Upward.

Upward being the key word here, neither of us had any clue that the 'mere' was actually one and a quarter mile straight up!!! Lexi, being my biggest fan was a valiant and true cheerleader. As I got stopped every so often to rest my tetchy knees, she cheered me on. "You can do it Grandma. It's only a little farther."

Drenched from the unexpected snow, sleet and torrential rains, 18 years after my first attempt failed, Lexi did her best Rocky balboa dance of victory as we stood on the deck that overlooked the surging water below us. Although we were teeth chattering frozen, soaked to the skin and exhausted, we were elated that WE DID IT!!!

We had a celebratory cup of hot cocoa in the dining room overlooking the beast we had just dominated. We chatted excitedly about our next victory and were both saddened by the fact that for the first time in her 13 years we would be separated for some time. Four months is a long time to a 13 years old and to this 54 year old as well. Although she is not able to make this trek with me, I know she will walk each step in spirit.

The other challenge I can't conquer. Do not do anything to bring attention to the McPherson name. Well...we all know how that one turned out didn't we?

By the way. I surprised Lexi yesterday when I told her that I had arranged for her to fly out and walk from San Diego to Tijuana. It will be awesome to do the Rocky Balboa dance of victory together. Da da da da da da da daaahhh. Da da da da da da da daaahhh. Da da daaahhh. Da da daaahhh.

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