One icy winter, I had the marvelous experience of sliding backward off the Boulder Hill on Windpass Road. Trust me, it was not fun! For the uninitiated, that short stretch of back road is one of the steepest, if not the steepest, roads in the North Thompson Valley. Through some sort of miraculous intervention I did not roll or crash the van. In fact, I didn’t even get stuck. One thing I do know is that I couldn’t get all the way up the hill or keep the van stopped while I tried to figure out what to do next. It was too slick, and we were going down.
Life has slippery slopes. Perhaps the hardest thing to do these days is know how to deal with all the moral and ethical dilemmas facing us as a society. Things were a bit simpler in my growing up years. If you swore you got your mouth washed out with soap. If you lied to your folks or bullied your sister you could count on getting a licking, and your mom may have made you go out and find the switch she would use on you. You could pretty well say what you felt needed to be said. That might even have involved saying something that offended somebody, and the term “Politically correct” only applied to being right or left wing.
What’s the connection between sliding down an icy hill and getting a licking? I see in my feeble little mind’s view a lesson here in being grounded in a safe spot. A place where you know you are supposed to be and you can go on from. An icy road is made safe with a good application of sand and a bit of scraping. A job we leave to the guys driving the big yellow trucks. Likewise, lives on a “Downhill slide” need something to grab onto and give stability. Unfortunately, our society does little to give those doing the slipping anything to grasp. Right and wrong are confused.
I believe that one place where we can find grounding is in an active, vibrant faith walk. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, the life…..” Rightly perceived and rightly lived, that faith walk provides a place of grounding which can arrest a life’s downhill slide and give traction for going forward.