Alabama maps are an adventure in themselves. If there had not been a sign for the park at every intersection we would never have found it. Once we left the major state road, even the numbered county roads were not on the map, at least not the ones we needed. We went past one “county road,” complete with number and sign, that was merely a one lane red clay road. Another was gravel, and another just plain dirt. Our road kept getting skinnier and skinnier, but at least it was paved the whole way. Finally we turned in and drove down, down, down into the pocket that "Buck's Pocket" is named after.
Alabama parks are definitely different from Georgia and Florida parks--not as many rules for one thing. The rangers in the other parks drive around several times a day to keep an eye on things. They also keep regular hours in the office. Not so in Alabama, at least not that one. We had to catch ours whenever we wanted ice or had another question, and we did not catch him to pay until the second day. He never came after us, even though we had filled out a registration form and shoved it through the little slot outside the locked door. I guess he trusted that we would return to pay, and truly, most campers are honest folks.
There were no numbers on the sites, nor were they marked so that you knew exactly where yours began and ended. Some of them had two tables, which did not help you figure out the logistics. We finally went by the electric boxes--only one of those per site.
Then there was the water spigot. Usually it stands up in the air about three feet, and you just put your pots or dishpan or measuring cup under it and turn it on. These were down on the ground, pointing up at an angle! This would not have been a problem if we were in an RV or pop-up and just wanted to attach the hose that allows for running water. But we were in a tent. We needed to fill up pots and tubs and bowls. We had to set them about three feet from the spigot, and turn it on. The water arced up and out and, if we were lucky, we had put the receptacle in the right place to catch the water! Meanwhile, it splashed all over our feet and clothes, and created a mud puddle where it missed. Finally after several neighbors left, we found one spigot up off the ground a couple of sites over, and used it.
Those upside-down water spigots reminded me of the way we go about trying to improve our lives as Christians. Somehow we think that if we just read the scriptures and pray every day, we will improve. I suppose we will improve some. The scripture is powerful enough to work no matter how randomly it is spread around. But don’t we want a bit more efficiency in our improvement? I want to grow to be a better person as quickly as I can. Don’t you?
How do we set about to lose weight? We pick out the things we will and will not eat. We plan an exercise regimen. We know which parts of our body need the most work and choose exercises that will carve away the fat and mold the muscles beneath it in exactly those areas. How do we learn new skills? We learn facts and procedures, and then drill, drill, drill ourselves in practice.
But how do I plan to improve as a Christian? Every day I read a chapter, any chapter, and then pray a generic prayer. Then at the end of the day when I have once again failed in the same old ways, I pray for forgiveness. Where is the progress in that? Wouldn’t it be better to decide exactly where I need to improve, to choose passages that have to do with that very thing, examples of people in the scriptures who dealt with it, then analyze myself, why I have that problem and what I should do to avoid it? Wouldn’t it be better to pray specifically about it, rather than, “Help me grow Lord?” Why are we so smart in worldly things and so dumb in spiritual ones?
For me the problem is pride. It hurts my ego to say, “I need to be better about ______.” So probably the first thing I should do is work on that pride. What about you? Don’t splash yourself with muddy water as you haphazardly spray away your time with scriptures and prayer. Take good aim, and make the most of the Help we have been given.
For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to become conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom he foreordained, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified, Rom 8:29,30.
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