Distracted; that's what his problem was. He knew his Mom had some logical reason for insisting he start home at a certain time. From his lofty perch of eight years of living he could recite the usual reasons given a little boy in those days...the most compelling being, "because I said so".
Hide and seek with the neighbor's children became easier as evening wore on and darkness crept through the pines. In horror he recognized the daunting truth; there was not sufficient time for him to make it home before dark.
After a hurried thank you to the lady of the house he gathered his courage and began the long trek to the security of home. It was only a quarter mile but seemed much longer to his child's mind.
Remembering the recent rattler photos taken along this very same stretch of country road, he picked up the pace and began running through the encroaching gloom.
"Wait! What's that piled up in the road?"
His active imagination filled in all the blanks as he "saw" the huge head of the serpent atop the threatening coils of an Eastern Diamondback lurking in his path. It was too dark to return to the safety of the neighbor's home. Daddy would be coming this way soon on his way home from work but he didn't want to explain why he wasn't already home.
In an early attempt to master fear he sidled as close to the edge of the road as he dared. In his mad sprint past the sullen beast coiled in the road he got a close-up glimpse of the monster's head. What had absolutely terrified him was just a pile of Spanish moss recently fallen from one of the towering pines sighing in the ample breeze overhead. The darkness had disguised the identity of the moss and his busy little brain had done the rest.
There are some pretty good life lessons in this true story:
1. Pay attention to the authority figures God puts in your life.
2. Don't allow yourself to be so entertained that you ignore looming deadlines.
3. Some of the things we fear the most turn out to be nothing.
4. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You'll make it!
5. Don't forget where home is.
If you're looking for a place where you recognize the hymns and don't need ear plugs to protect you from the sound, you just might want to come home to Battlefield Assembly of God.
See you Sunday!
Pastor Richard Orrell