I wrote this post on another blog of mine that has been dormant now for a couple years. This post was originally written on December 15, 2007. Part of the reason I am re-posting it here is because I am not sure if some of my friends realize how much of a blessing they have been in my life… and I think they ought to know. Of course, ALL my friends everywhere have been, and are, a huge blessing in my life.


It was May of 2006. I was in the process of moving from Montana back to California, before going to Florida. It was the beginning of a life I never dreamed of. Before I left Montana, however, I went on one last camping trip. I  camped out on the Madison, and all though the season was still a little early and the river high from spring runnoff, it was quiet and very peaceful. But then, I usually find rest when I’m in the mountains.

That night as I camped alone on the river, I watched the moon, a couple days shy of being full, rise over the mountains from across the water. It was not a clear night, but the moon, though vieled by clouds,  was still bright enough to shillouette the trees linning the ridge.

Sitting by the campfire drinking coffee and enjoying the peaceful solitude, I asked God, for the second time that day, “Why are you taking me away from all this?”

His response was the same. “Because, Stephen,” I could sense him saying, “I’ve got something planned for you; something bigger and better than all this.”

I was skeptical. “What could possibly be better than all this?” I asked.

There was silence for a moment. The fire crackled; the sap popped.  “You’ll find out eventually,” he said. “But for now, you’re just going to have to trust me.”

I agreed to trust him, but I had much doubt.

Over this last past year, that same question has surfaced, on occasion. I keep asking myself, “What could there possibly be in Florida that’s better than the mountains and the wilderness?”

Well, last night, 1 year, 7 months, and 2 days after that night on the Madison, I  finally saw what God meant. My friends threw me a surprise going away party, which has never been done for me before. As I drove home, I reflected on the evening and realized that all these friends of mine are far better than the wilderness and beauty I had in Montana.

Indeed, next to God, every single one of my friends is far better than anything else I could ever have.


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