Let Go, and Let God
And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
-- Luke 11:9-10
I recently gave my daughter a small book that taught her all about the indigenous wildlife that inhabits the southwest desert in our neighborhood. It's full of great pictures and information, the kind of useful stuff that helps educate kids about a part of creation that many of them find interesting, and some of them find truly awe-inspiring.
My daughter and I are in the latter group, so it's not enough for us to merely look at pictures and read copy. We like to get out to fully immerse and engage with pristine habitat that beckons right from our own back door.
Over the course of many excursions, we've had the blessing of seeing practically all of the critters listed in the book –– up close and personal. Coyotes, foxes, bobcats, javelina, mule deer, desert tortoises, jack rabbits, ringtails, pronghorn antelope, snakes, lizards, prairie dogs, wild horses and donkeys, owls, hawks, eagles, roadrunners, hummingbirds, quail and birds of all varieties... a great list of diverse critters.
My daughter was asking about white tail deer, which she hadn't seen firsthand yet, so I decided to take her on a hike up a canyon where I had spotted a small herd with one of my sons on a previous adventure. It was overcast and periodically drizzling, but neither of us was going to let that get in our way.
As we were winding our way up various game trails and desert washes, I was praying for success and seeking various intercessions from the likes of St. Francis of Assisi. Of course I was also visually keen on the surrounding terrain, paying particular attention to the patches of desert green belt along the arroyos as well as any fresh sign of track on the ground below.
There was some fresh deer track here and there in the wet sand, but I was having no luck spotting anything moving. I prayed a bit more fervently for success on our trek.
After another half an hour of hiking up the canyon, the following thought gently presented itself me. Basically, I came to realize that we would not be treated to any white tail that day (Let Go), but that Our Good Lord had something else that He wanted me to 'see' on our journey (Let God). That something else truly surpassed my wildest expectations.
Eventually, we came upon that special place where I had previously built the two rock cairns (for more info and visuals about that spot, CLICK HERE). It's a peaceful, rocky oasis beneath towering reddish cliff faces, the kind of place you can easily relax, take in picturesque desert landscape, and enjoy some quality conversation with your hiking companions.
My daughter chatted away excitedly about the greatest and smallest of things, while I endeavored in the brief openings to tie some of her comments and interests to matters of faith. It's funny, but I always wonder in those instances just how much I'm actually teaching vs. how much I'm truly being taught.
During the next lull in the conversation, she spotted a cave opening higher in the cliff face above us and was suddenly feeling adventurous.