Backpacking with Brothers
Monday, April 23, 2012 at 9:07AM
Living with Freaks

Two weekends ago, Ellis and I went backpacking in Colorado Bend State Park, a hidden gem in Texas. I had promised to take Ellis more than a year ago and, thanks to Richard, finally came through on that promise.

Richard set the whole thing up and emailed the men, inviting fathers and sons to come on the trip. On Friday night, Richard, Ellis, and I were the only ones there. We made dinner, enjoyed the stars (Jupiter was so bright it kind of freaked me out), and slept.

Saturday morning, the three of us hit the trails. 

Colorado Bend is special because it has all these natural springs that come off from the Colorado River. On Saturday, Richard, Ellis, and I went exploring these springs on a three mile trail. The weather was gorgeous, and butterflies would line our path and flutter away as we walked. 

Ellis insisted that we swim in the natural swimming holes produced from the springs. Richard and I refused.

Ellis won.

He won Richard over first, and then Richard ordered me to swim. What was I to do? Before I knew it, I was in 60 degree water screaming like a, uh, not as manly man as I truly am. 

Ellis had us swimming springs, climbing rocks, and exploring small waterfalls. It was majestic.

I found myself soaking in (no pun intended) every moment. Here we were, three men of three generations, sharing the Lord together explicitly and implicitly in His creation. 

Although I did not say anything - words would not do - I found myself thinking about how I had lost a father in the last year and that Richard had lost a son in the last two years. And although I would never insinuate that Richard somehow makes up for my dad or that I somehow make up for his son in any manner, I heard the Lord whispering this verse to me in the following days:

 God sets the lonely in families - Psalm 68:6

He really does do that. He gives us fathers and sons, brothers and sisters and mothers. And it felt that way on Saturday. It felt like Ellis was with a grandfather, and I was with a father. And it was a treasure.

And then more brothers came. Despite the promise of inclement weather, Michael & Caleb and Chris & Ben drove down together and met us late Saturday afternoon. I got to see generational brotherhood, as Ellis, Caleb, and Ben immediately bonded, explored, and laughed together. Ellis even kicked me out of my very expensive backpacking tent so that the three of them could sleep together. Meanwhile, Richard, Chris, Michael, and I just enjoyed pure fellowship as brothers.

Here is a show of more pictures from the expedition, including the grand finale: Gorman Falls!


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