My best friend lives in Colorado, and I’ve not gotten to go see her as often as I would like. She lives up in gorgeous mountains with fabulous scenery. One of the routes to her house involves hair-pin turns that left me on the alert.
For several hours after I leave her house, the view is amazing. Really! I have my phone out, trying to capture what I am seeing from my car window.
Colorado is beautiful. That is…until you leave Denver (or Colorado Springs) going east. Then suddenly, there is an abrupt change. No more mountains. No more beauty. Just flat…nothingness.
I tell people that there aren’t a lot of places uglier than western Kansas, unless it’s eastern Colorado. For mile after mile there is…nothing. Just the sky and a straight road in front of you.
And don’t dare miss a gas station because you’ll be in trouble! It’s not a metropolis where you think, “Oh well, I’ll just get the next exit.” No, you will be stuck at the side of the road.
Todd and I discovered this shortly after we were married. We went to Colorado on our honeymoon. On the trip home to Kansas, we traveled that flat wilderness. We worried that we were going to run out of gas. When we made it to one of those tiny western Kansas towns, we sighed with relief. We pulled into the lone gas station to find a sign on the door “Gone to move furniture. We’ll be back.” Really? People just close up their business like that?
What else could we do? We weren’t going anywhere without gas!
Finally the proprietors came back, and then we found out…they didn’t accept credit card! Seriously! We didn’t know what to do. We had already been short on cash during our honeymoon and had tried to be careful with expenses, not buying souvenirs.
Surely it was God that suddenly brought it to our minds…they had stolen the bride at our wedding and collected shoes full of cash! And it was in Todd’s wedding suit in the trunk. We had wads of cash all along!
We gassed up and headed back along that boring road. No captivating scenery. No craning our heads to see the aspens.
But also, no anxiety with hairpin turns. You could fall asleep on this road. Although you don’t notice it, this road goes down, down, down. Imperceptibly. At the western edge of flat Kansas, you go from over 4,000 feet above sea level until you get to the very lowest point of Kansas, 679 feet, which is in the southeast corner. It also just happens to be the county where we live, Montgomery. Near the Verdigris River. Moldy. (No wonder my asthmatic son struggles with allergies.)
I’ve thought about this trip and this road that could put you to sleep. It is a sleepy day. We can drive mile after mile in life and not be paying attention to our car. Our changes may be so gradual that they are imperceptible, not noticeable, but we can be slowly losing ground…and taking our family with us in our little car. All the time, driving on auto pilot, not feeling any danger, yet going lower and lower.
Have you lost ground?
Let’s climb higher. Let’s take on new heights.
I’m pressing on the upward way
New heights I’m gaining every day
Still praying as I’m onward bound
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay
Though some may dwell where these abound
My prayer, my aim is higher ground
I want to live above the world
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled
For faith has caught a joyful sound
The song of saints on higher ground
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright
But still I’ll pray ‘til heaven I found
“Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith, on heaven’s tableland
A higher plane than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground
Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922)