Posted by: Jim E | March 9, 2011

Custer State Park…Grizzly Bear…Mountain Goat…Psalm 8…You And I…

Well, I really don’t know how the mind works…I mean in this way…an image of a grizzly bear on a bare, rocky, mountain slope…and feeling alone…how do those two thoughts make sense together???…but lets go down that road a bit…do you sometimes feel alone???…I don’t very often but I have before…I guess I have even written about feeling alone…as principal of a large high school in Minnesota…with 3,000 students and staff all around…but feeling absolutely alone…(I posted about that particular time last year August 15, 2010, “Alone..but not lonely”)…if you want to go there you can, check the archives on the right margin…(I haven’t learned how to make that active yet, sorry)…

But what has being alone and Custer State Park have to do with one another???…or grizzly bears or mountain goats for that matter???…and then Psalm 8???…well, lets do some traveling shall we…

In my mind, every once in a while, I find myself somewhere else…I can be looking out the window fixing something in the kitchen and find myself in a small town in Wisconsin…or in Rocky Mountain National Park….ever happen to you???…well, maybe it’s just me…I don’t know why it happens, it just does…but it is a good feeling…takes me to someplace that is good, enjoyable, relaxing…one of the friends I found when following Matt Green (I’m just walkin) and his trip last summer from coast to coast has a blog to show pictures she has taken…wonderful…and she reads my posts from time to time…and I often wonder if the pictures she posts give her that same feeling…just as pictures are a reminder…so are memories…and when both come together it is a great and wonderful feeling…

So the past few weeks or months I have found myself in South Dakota, the Black Hills, and Custer State Park…we were there a few years ago…it was after tourist season, in September and we took one of the scenic drives…and if you ever go, make sure you take those drives…now you may not believe me but we saw deer, turkey, pronghorn antelope, buffalo, burros, prairie dogs, big horn sheep, elk, mountain goat…all wild and roaming freely through the park…and beautiful vistas all along the route…Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument peeking through the trees and mountain peaks…I was amazed by all that…and that all those animals were in the South Dakota Black Hills…do you see why I sometime go there in my mind???…it was a great trip…we all loved it…

Mountain goats, in South Dakota???…I didn’t think they were that far East…I thought they were only in the Rockies…and when we went to the Rockies we never saw them…too big, too vast, for us to see anything like we did at Custer…but how about that thing of being alone…the scene that come to mind is one that was on “Planet Earth”, the TV series that has been out for a number of years…but when I saw it the first time, though lots of things were wonderful, one scene sort of “stuck” with me…because it shows who we are in relation to this earth and all its wonders…how really small we are…how really alone we are in the vastness of this earth and more so, of this universe we live in…the scene was about mountains…about all mountains…I will show you one of the excerpts of that part of the series…it is about 14 minutes long but all of it is very good…but if you have this need to save time…at minutes 4:00 thru 7:10 or so…you will see what I am talking about…you will see the scene of mountains…and seemingly nothing is there…one is a mountain goat…the next scene on a bare, rocky slope…you will finally see a grizzly bear…but next to the mountain they are on…they are insignificant until you get up close…then they are huge, like at a zoo…but when the camera moves away, the animals disappear into the creation around them…into insignificance again…watch and see what I mean…then I will say a bit more about that feeling…

Now that was beautiful and shows the magnificence of creation…and when we feel alone or insignificant in the world…that video will give us reason to see, that in that particular way…it is so…looking at it like that…we are not unlike the mountain goat or the grizzly bear, we are alone…

But then I remember Psalm 8…“O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth!/ Your glory is higher than the heavens./ You have taught children and infants/ to tell of Your strength,/silencing Your enemies/ and all who oppose You./ When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers…/the moon and the stars You set in place…/what are mere mortals that You should think about them,/human beings that You should care for them?/Yet You made them only a little lower than God/and crowned them with glory and honor./You gave them charge of everything You made/putting all things under their authority…/the flocks and the herds/and all the wild animals,/the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,/and everything that swims the ocean currents./O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth!”…A psalm of David, to be accompanied by a stringed instrument…in other words, the psalm was for singing…with music…and as you read it…it does sing, doesn’t it???…

When we are feeling alone…when we feel down…it may be good to read (or sing) Psalm 8…we are a special creation…of all this wonderful, beautiful, majestic creation, we are at the top…(hey, I just sat up a little straighter in my chair…my fingers got a little lighter on the keyboard)…and then I remember the words of Jesus in Luke 12:6-7 “What is the price of five sparrows…two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

We may be alone as we look around…and the problems of life my seem insurmountable…yet Jesus sets us free of all fear…we are more valuable than we can ever know…if that sparrow, that grizzly bear, that mountain goat are not forgotten…then I will put my trust in the One who made all this…and  who asks me not to be afraid…because we are never alone…

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