UP here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in December, the sun starts going down before 4:00 in the afternoon…and is all the way down at 4:30. This makes things interesting. If you don’t get up with the sunrise or right after, your day can be downhill from the get-go. Many times, in this rather extreme place, you have to take extreme measures to counteract the lack of sunlight, the shortness of days, and the fact that your metabolism wants to completely stop when you never move. Yesterday at 3:00, it was around 20 degrees with some windchill, and I grabbed my mountain bike, a kid-trailer, a little cash (which is equally as preposterous this time of year), and my six-year-old daughter Hosanna and headed out on a snowy milk run.
Hosanna got her snowsuit on and I threw on the “big” hat, “big” gloves and some long-johns. We got loaded up, battened down the hatches, took an extra blanket and headlamps just to feel like real adventurous…and hit the icy Iron River roads. Please note that this is not radical parental discipline; Hosanna went on her own volition.
Truth be told, I’m a sucker for this stuff and I’ve been snow-biking in subzero temps since I was in high school. Back then, I used to wait for a snow day and the temperatures to drop or the drifts to get high and then take off on a frozen trek to a friend’s house anywhere from 10-15 miles away. And that was in the southern farmland known as Indiana. So, Canada Junior, as we call our home peninsula, is practically the Yukon compared to Hoosier-ville.
I wanted to document this little tribal adventure because I had just mentioned in my four-part COMMUNIFICATION blog that one of the ways we get around ministry expenses is to use bikes when we can. And sometimes, like yesterday, you simple have to hoof it on bike. But, again, it isn’t a have-to really, it’s a get-to. I had the privilege to suffer for my Lord by wheeling down to the grocery store, pulling a trailer, with all the family savings in my pocket…and have a chilly blast with my favorite Hosanna. I mean, don’t get me wrong, sometimes you will hear me grumble and complain about the cold or the frontier way of life we lead, but usually, when I trudge through something, I am much better off for it. I got my blood pumping, accomplished the menial task of the bi-weekly milk run, and scored quality time with a daughter who will hopefully never forget little outings like this.
So now you can’t call me a liar and know that we actually do some drastic stuff to live for the Lord UP here, but almost all of those life choices come with some great advantages. Plus, you get to feel hoss and know that you just kicked the cold’s butt. You feel like a conquerer. You feel like a Viking. You feel like “ain’t nothin gonna keep me down!”
In the end, with a bit of ice encrusted in my beard and some cold toes, I can say that I appreciate that the Lord helps me see what is important and has caused me to live an unorthodox life in unique ways to understand what matters here. Heaven forbid I stop realizing all that I am blessed with: a great wife and family, close and meaningful friendships, the brotherhood of the saints, my own health and a God who loves me enough to NOT give me a car.
Yeah, curve ball…I know.