12" x 12" Oil on Canvas Panel
One very cold and snowy January several years ago, three of my best girlfriends and I decided to pack up the suburban and head to the northwoods. I will never forget the pristine blanket of white that greeted us, and the huge snowflakes drifting down as their many facets twinkled from the reflection of a single street lamp. We stood in awe upon our arrival. Total silence – miles away from the cacophony of mass humanity. Three deer – a doe with two fawns - serenely made their way across the otherwise deserted road – right in front of us, as if we weren’t there. It was a surreal event.
After a cozy meal together at a local supper club, we drove down the winding fir-lined lane to the cabin. As the moonlight proudly highlighted our surroundings, the scene appeared like a glittered Christmas card. The warmth of the home's cherry stained logs seemed to embrace us as we quickly turned up the heat and built a fire in the stone fireplace. Even Victor, the elk who presides over the hearth, was a welcoming presence.
All this began a week of many treasured memories: knitting, snowshoeing, long talks, bible study, laughter, picture taking, pajama day, gathering logs, food – of course - and more long talks! It wasn’t so much what we did - it was about just being together, encountering new situations, growing our relationships with each other and with God, and strengthening the bond among us.
It was a trip that none of us will ever forget – forever etched in one of the “happy places” in our hearts. With 20 inches of snow and temperatures dipping to 32 below zero, it was a trek totally out of our comfort zone. An adventure.
And yes – “Four Friends” left a little stronger after five days of “togetherness” than when they came – bolstered by a little extra dose of independence, having survived the extreme elements – alone in the woods - without men!
I am reminded of scripture that the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians. I have written it below as a prayer for all our friends:
“I have not stopped giving thanks for my friends and loved ones,
remembering them in my prayers. I keep asking you, the God of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they may know You better.
I pray also that the eyes of their hearts may be enlightened in order that
they may know the hope to which You have called them, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints and Your incomparably great
power for us who believe.