Stepping Stones

It is Spring Break for the middle school kiddos that I help tutor (and play ferocious dodgeball with) in the afternoons. Today we took them to the Eaton Canyon for a 2 hour hike to the waterfall. I didn’t know I lived so close to a real waterfall, about 30-35 feet high. Hooray!

I made a funny face at the boys who brought their Nintendo DS with them. They said they needed it when we were just sitting at the waterfall because they were “soooo bored.”

In order to get there we had to cross many stones mismatched along the creek. This involved some strategy in movement. A new eighth grade girl arrived today, and she walked with me across some of those stepping stones. It all started when she walked to the water’s edge, gasped, and asked me in a half-panic:

“How can I get across?”

I breathed, feeling strong. “Follow me. Just watch where I step.”

I didn’t have a full-on plan on how to get across the water. I am not a master canyon-creek walking guide. I don’t really like water/swimming, to be sure. But I had a slight inclination of which rocks were too slippery, and which might wobble. I could see a basic map of how to cross the running water. And I guessed the rest of the way.

“You’ll have to hop across these two fast,” I said, hopping.

It was sort of like a two-step in some dance. If you thought about it too long, you’d start looking awkward. If you waited too long, you’d fall in.

My new eight grade friend did end up hesitating and falling in, but she still made it across, dripping and giggling.

A tiny part of my little self came alive when I heard the initial panic in her voice. She was following me. The rocks I chose to step on would affect more than just my own size 7 feet. I had to think and make decisions beyond myself.

I may never be able to define what exactly is my “life ministry,” though people are particularly into delineating bizarre titles. If you ask me, those stepping stones in the canyon creek are words enough. I want to help inspire confidence in hesitant feet, and urge them to laugh and keep going when our shoes get soaked in the water.

(Photo by Ankledeep/JJ on Flickr)

Comments
4 Responses to “Stepping Stones”
  1. teeveebee says:

    HI, I stumbled across your blog while “blog hopping.” I enjoyed it very much as I found your style of writing just beautiful.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Robin says:

    I don’t think I’ve heard a better definition of ministry. Thanks!

  3. Bev Murrill says:

    Nelly,

    I logged onto your blogsite because of your comment on us writing a book together on Jonathon. I love what you said about your ministry being showing other people where to step to get across.

    There’s a word in the ancient gaelic ‘anamchara’ and it means a ‘soul friend’ but the word is much larger than that. It means like – someone who has walked the road before you. They’re not better than you, but they know the road better and they can advise and befriend you while you’re making your own journey. At the risk of labelling… maybe you are an anamchara. That’s what I feel I am, amongst all the clutter of the rest of it. xx bev

  4. Sarah says:

    That’s a powerful picture definition. You are well equipped.

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