Adam, Eve and me

On August 6, with both of our cars packed to the brim, we gassed up and then said our last good-bye to Utah as we headed off for the little southwester Missouri town of Stockton. We were sad to leave behind family and friends and the beautiful Utah mountains, but were also optimistic about what lay ahead for us in what was to be our new home.

In the solitary hours of my drive ahead, I couldn’t help but think about our situation and feel a connection with Adam and Eve. Chad and I had both loved Utah and had been comfortable there, yet yearned for more. We knew we were taking risks by leaving the comforts of our “garden”. In fact, the risks seemed to be like a wilderness for us, yet the unknowns of the wilderness seemed to hold the needed opportunity and growth we longed for. There was something appealing about working by the “sweat of our brow” to establish a home of our own, and who knew, maybe even plant our own garden.

Things were going good until I passed Chad on a hill about four hours into our drive. He called me asking if I was aware of the big, black cloud of smoke coming from my exhaust pipe. Little did we know, that black smoke would be the beginning of transmission problems for my car. Chad drove back to a near-by town, Rock Point, Wyoming to rent a car dolly. He would have to pull my car the rest of the way to Missouri. I wondered, did Adam and Eve have this much difficulty in merely leaving the garden?

Those car problems would be the beginning of our troubles. To make a long story shorter, what was supposed to be an 18 hour drive took us 33 hours. That night, as we unpacked and rested, the tv was on in the background. A documentary about the Mormon exodus to the west came on. They too faced many difficulties as they entered their western wilderness. And even upon arriving to their “promised land”, there was much work ahead. By the sweat of their brow they would build houses and churches, plant crops and lay the foundations of new towns and cities. And after time, the desert would blossom as a rose and they would have their own garden-like Zion.

That night I was reminded that the story of the wilderness is not unique to Adam and Eve or Chad and Michelle. The Mormon pioneers, Moses and the children of Israel, and Lehi and his family all have a similar story to tell. It’s the story of all who are willing to leave the comforts of the present to face the wildernesses of their own life. But more importantly than leaving our garden-like state could possibly be the faith we maintain as we travel through the wilderness. Will we move forward with faith trusting in God as did Adam and Eve and the Mormon pioneers or feel abandoned and long for the ease of the past “gardens” as did the children of Israel or Laman and Lemuel? Chad and I have chosen to move forward with faith. We don’t know how long the wildernesses we are called to pass through will be, but we trust that there’s a promised land waiting ahead somewhere and that there can be joy in the journey.

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