Middle Fork Church

Open my eyes, open my heart,
open these hands that hold us apart
Open up a way for me to see

the grandeur of the grander scheme unfolding.
– Out of the Grey, “Unfolding”

It’s Sunday, so I went to church. From the picture below, you could call it a Sunrise Service. It felt pretty good to be the first one in attendance for a change.

With the tough economy and low offerings, running heaters are too expensive out here, so the morning temps hovered at 40 degrees. I could’ve complained to the church leadership, but I kept my mouth shut.

I knew times must really be tough when a porcupine waltzed through the sanctuary. I mean, c’mon, I can understand if a mouse scurries under the altar, but a porcupine? Where’s the exterminator?

The preacher never arrived, so I opened my “Bible” to the book of Caddis, chapter Elk Hair, size 14. That choice was sure to catch some answers out here.

I’d never walked so much down the same slippery, riverstoned aisle. Man, this church stuff is hard work, I thought. And where’s the padded pew for my aching back?

After reeling in a couple of small answers, I started asking the big questions. Like a badgering child, I ask a lot of questions (incidentally my first name means “badger-like;” yes, I consider that a positive quality). But the answers to my big questions weren’t taking the bait; I was growing frustrated.

God? Hello? I want to understand so many things–know what to do. I want to make the right decisions–for my family, myself, and the future. Why can’t fishing the Middle Fork be easier? I’ve studied the fish, the stream, the right bait, the changing patterns with the changing seasons. Why is life so hard? Jesus, I really need answers.

I paused, laid my fly rod on the bank, and looked up from the gurgling water. Mattes of pale maroon peaks stood above treeline on a blue backdrop. And the westerly breeze–it brought that clean snowfall smell but without the snow. Fall was in the air.

The grandeur surrounding me was grand indeed. How long I’m in this place doesn’t matter. How I live, does. I sensed God whispering, “Quit placing all of these expectations on yourself and on this time. I love you. I’ll take care of the answers. Let’s enjoy this day together.”

And we did. I had been to church.

11 thoughts on “Middle Fork Church

  1. You have me after one post. 🙂 I love the way you expressed this message. The humor peppered in made me read the entire post rather than just scanning – not that I ever do that. :)And the best part is the poignant and beautiful message that summed it all up.By the way, I scanned your Shelfari – it’s funny how the books we read say so much about us. I see you’re reading “The Art of War for Fiction Writers” right now – one of my favorite writing books. Read some Noah Lukeman stuff, too – you will treasure his books.Since you are a fellow writer, I have another blog (besides My Writing Loft – thanks for visiting, by the way) you might be interested in that I maintain through my writers group. I use it to post all things writing related (it’s more technical rather than artistic) – grammar, online tools, copyright information. If you want to check it out, you can find it at http://www.livingwriterscollective.blogspot.com.

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  2. HA HA! Nikole, I’m rolling about your adornment! Awesome touch. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by!p.s. – The Hahn Hunting Lodge website looks pretty cool. Gonna have to check it out some more. 🙂

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  3. My favorite choir in our “sunrise service” are the birds. My favorite “congregation members” that I look forward to seeing are the herds of deer and antelope and that hawk gliding through the sky. My favorite adornment is my .30/.30 rifle. Great blog!

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  4. Brock,Thanks for splashing along with our journey! To answer your questions, we have been soaking in all of God’s goodness this year. Going through a joyful time of refreshment. The mission field with its strains and issues can take a toll on a young family and Jesus brought us back to fill us up! It has been a year and we are overwhelmed with all that He has done in such a short time. We are more in love with HIm and radically ready to do whatever He leads.If you need any tips on moving (we’ve done it quite a bit with toddlers in tow to different nations) would love to help.happy day,Sara

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  5. Sara, thanks for visiting! And don’t worry about cleaning up, because I’ll just mess it up again. 🙂 I just splashed around your blog, too. A terrific site!Brad, glad you laughed a little. I REALLY appreciate that kind of feedback. And look me up if you’re ever in Colorado. We’ll hit the Middle Fork!

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  6. I WANT TO BE THERE!Really, I love this story, and it made me laugh out loud – which is quite a blogging gift. I love going out to the mountains and streams – mostly to hike, not so much to fish. And I, too, ask those dumb big questions and always get a reassuring hug from God in the end.

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  7. I have walked into the same church on many occasions.Delighted to meet you today! Hope you don’t mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. I promise to clean up any messes I make. This looks like a refreshing place to get drenched in real.Splashin,Sara

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  8. Bert, and there’s nothing like a fork in the eye, although that always gets my attention. :)Thanks Dan. I like how God usually whispers, but sometimes I need a brick in the head, too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Nice… I love the ‘whisper’ from God telling you to just stop with everything that you were bringing into that time. So often we need to just ‘be’ with God. Good stuff Brock! Thanks!

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