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The Escape - 3.30.2023

My brother Nate and I used to climb trees all the time when we were growing up. Pine trees to be specific. Mom and dad had a rule that we couldn't climb a tree until we could climb a tree ourselves, so we worked arduously to not only find the right trees, but then to master the ways to get up into them. There was one particular pine tree that had two branches that were just low enough that we learned to jump up, grab ahold, and use the tree trunk to hoist ourselves up. It was a glorious feeling. The air seemed crisper. The bird's songs were more melodious. And the view was amazing (not quite as high as our bedroom window usually, but the thought of it!). It wasn't a mountain peak but it was as close as our yard would take us! Nate was always more anxious to go up higher than I was - in fact, he would later get in trouble for climbing up so high in the tree that it began to sway where he was at the top! But in the tree was our place to simply get away from all the craziness of . . . younger siblings? (Not sure exactly what troubles we were escaping, but mountain tops made for better living! We left there feeling invigorated . . . and a little sticky from the sap!)

Fast-forward to more recent days . . . Parks and his older cousins have all mastered the big pine tree at Grammy and Pappy's, but Ez was not quite tall enough to figure it out. One day a couple weeks ago, his frustration bubbled over. He had been working hard and was being kind and being such a helper that I lamented the climbing rule I had inherited. And so when Parks asked if we could make an exception so Ez could experience it as well, I agreed! So I helped him a smidge. And just look at his face! He was ecstatic. He wanted to go up higher like Parks did moments after this picture, but I convinced him that was a great spot to stay and enjoy the same things I had so many years before. The view. The air. The escape. And he, too, didn't ever want to come down!

As we get older, we find different places and activities to escape. But we can't stay in those high places forever--God needs us to come down. There's living that needs to be happening. There's love that needs spread and mercy to be shown and grace to be lathered on folks God loves and don't deserve it...just like we don't. So thank God for times of rejuvenation and also for those who have taken time to come and encourage you when you weren't on those beautiful mountain peaks or sticky pine limbs of serenity.

May God bless and encourage you today and allow you to be a blessing and encourage others as well.

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