I grew up in the small town of Mission, located just a few miles north of the Rio Grande River. In the 1950’s, Mission was the South Texas version of Mayberry. Everybody in town knew my family and I felt at home no matter where I happened to wander. Mission became the setting for a childhood of fun adventures — everything from climbing mesquite trees to playing Cowboys and Indians and unintentionally starting a one-alarm fire to many other epic childhood adventures.
This morning, I hoisted my mountain bike into the bed of my Tundra and drove the short distance from my Dad’s home in McAllen to Mission — the place where my adventures began. Returning to this particular place on the planet still excites me because all of my wonderful childhood memories still live there. As I drive around town and glance in this direction or that, it’s easy for me to smile as I reminisce about childhood happenings associated with those places.
I started my day early this morning by visiting my Mom’s grave at Laurel Hill Cemetery, located just down the street from my first childhood home. I still think about my beautiful Mom every day. Afterward, I drove to the trailhead of the Mission Hiking and Biking Trails for a ride on the fantastic single track trails that are bordered by gnarly mesquites and prickly pear cactus — a good motivation for not losing your balance. Kudos to whoever maintains these trails.
After lunch with Dad, I drove to Bentsen State Park, the place where I first backpacked and camped out as a kid. As I slowly drove down the 3-mile road leading to the park I looked out the window and smiled as I recalled the many times I hiked this road as a kid. This time I made it a point to ride my bike to the primitive campground in the park where I spent so many nights under the stars. Visiting this old campsite brought back a flood of memories of boyhood adventures. I lingered a long time under the canopy of mesquites shading the hard-packed ground where I slept in my homemade sleeping bag.
The afternoon heat index soared to over 100-degrees. I passed other cyclists who were resting and hydrating in the shade. Perhaps because I grew up in this kind of heat, I had no problem with the temperature. My iPhone, on the other hand, did have a problem. When I reached for my phone to take a pic, I noticed a message on the screen that I had not seen before. My iPhone was having a heat stroke. My first-aid training immediately kicked in. I doused my phone with water (I have a waterproof case) and nursed it back to life.
When I finally made it back to my truck I checked my phone and saw a pic of my son, Jonathan. He was off on an adventure of his own in North Texas, headed to a remote section of the Trinity River to do some paddling. I really think that he was putting his new all-wheel drive Subaru Outback to the test by driving it down a narrow jeep trail. He said it performed well and was happy to get the first scratches on the vehicle. I’m glad that Jonathan loves the outdoors and enjoys some cool and affordable adventures.
I enjoyed returning once again to the place where my own adventures began — amid mesquites and cactus and heat and hard-packed ground and big red ants. As I rode the trails today I thought much about Isaiah’s words that God inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15). In the days when I was enjoying my childhood adventures, God knew all about the adventurers and challenges I would face far into my own future. Because He inhabits eternity, He was already at my tomorrows when I was still sleeping under the stars in my yesterdays. I smiled and thanked Him for His faithfulness to lead me on such an adventurous path. The adventures are not over yet!