The Longest Thirty Minutes of My Life

Monday August 9, 2010
Yesterday, I read this headline: “Man Recovering After Fall from Grand Canyon.” In a flash, it all came back to me – the longest thirty minutes of my life.

I remember walking up to the edge, looking around, and thinking, “There are no railings here – of any kind! This is crazy.” There we stood with four boys from ages six to fifteen. I spent the rest of the time not enjoying the view but counting heads! “One, two, three four” … “One, two, three – where’s—?”

“Over here, Mom,” one would shout. I’d breathe once more, then start counting all over again. They clambered over rocks and chose crazy places to take breathtaking pictures. (Who are we kidding? I had no breath at this point!)

I guess I’d never really thought of it before. I mean, I’m sure railings would spoil the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon, but I’ll never forget my initial feeling of panic when we hit the top and I saw my four active boys and…well, that canyon. (There were no rails at this rim – the one my husband claimed has “the best view”!)

I’ve counted to four all my life – and still do whenever we’re all together just because it’s hard to keep six people together. (For me, the counting is a bit easier. I just look for the red heads.)

The Grand Canyon was beautiful – I know that because of the pictures we took. I don’t really remember the lovely sight. All I remember is counting heads and saying, “Guys, be careful.” Or “Not so close.” And Dad saying, “Oh honey, they’re fine.” And their crazy antics, designed to make me all the more terrified.

When I recall that feeling of panic, that fear born from love, I remember with wonder that there’s One who loves them even more than I do. He knows no fear, and panic isn’t even in His vocabulary.

And He never has to hold His breath or count. He knows them, loves them. He’s much more than an eternal Santa or the big man upstairs. He doesn’t promise us a perfect life, but He’s by our side as we maneuver the rocks.

And He gives us grace – enough to make it through the longest thirty minutes of our lives.


Melissa said...

So true. We visited the Grand Canyon when my son was about 7, and I remember that watchfulness. I love the direction you took this post, though, and you're so right.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

You've brought back memories of seeing the Grand Canyon when I was a child--and how my mom kept saying, "You're too close, stand here." Now I understand!
I love what you've said about our Father, by our side as we maneuver the rocks.
Thank you, Laura!

alicia said...

I have been avoiding my husband's request to visit the Grand Canyon. We were going to go when I had a stroller boy, but he got the chicken pox instead. But I still remember the lack of rails and I know I would be tormented watching my kids instead of embracing the view.
Great post, Laura!

Playing Sublimely said...

Oh my, how I love your blog title! I totally get that, and I am so grateful for people like you that have a heart for moms. So happy to meet you!

Carrie Anne Schmeck said...

I totally get that feeling! It literally takes your breath away to think about what *could* happen. I like how you segued into our Father's love for us. He often challenges us with canyons without rails and trusts us enough to get close but not that close. The only difference is that He knows if we fall, He will be able to save us.

Tiffany said...

Thanks for your comment! I also have FOUR boys, not just the little guy! Mine are 17,14,9,&5. We DO have a Girl as well! :)
I love your post~so true...I'm always holding my breath,praying...

Karen said...

Oh, Laura, I bet that was scary. I would be one of those "crazy" ladies herding everyone together. Yes, even when I don't know where my children are, He does. And that's what counts, right?

Victoria said...

I've never been there, but my mom tells me it's one of those places my great-grandmother always wanted to see but never made it. I plan to go one day for her (I'm terrified of heights and probably wouldn't go for my own sake).
You're right about those moments where you forget to breathe for fear of what could have happened, what almost happened, or what you thought happened. And I beg God daily to hold her in a way I can't. I haven't found the grace yet, but I know nothing will happen to her without Him watching.

Michelle DeRusha said...

Wow, I never thought about that. I've been dying to visit the Grand Canyon, but my rambuctious redhead might give me 20 heart attacks in 30 minutes! I'll have to give that a second thought...

Rebecca S. Mullen said...

My husband is a rock climber. I remember one vacation we took when my daughter was constantly flying off rocks into (hopefully) her daddy's waiting arms. But she had such complete trust and she always trusted he was watching her.

Sometimes all she'd say was, "Daddy" and start flying. It was her job to locate her and open his arms.

Trust. It's what our Fathers do best.

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