It was a vacation I hadn’t wanted, and I had a bad attitude.
I couldn’t imagine that Montana would be anything special. We’d already traveled a good 24 hours to reach North Dakota where my brother was stationed as a watchman for a nuke in the barren NoDak wilderness. As much as I was excited to see my brother, I wasn’t thrilled with trucking my brand new baby girl across the prairie. I don’t know how Ma Ingalls did it.
I didn’t want to spend another day driving to Montana just to indulge my other brother’s mystifying itch to scale ridiculous heights. My husband told me it would be a nice sightseeing trip for the rest of us.
I was not a happy camper.
That was another thing. My husband was not a camper at all. I’d gotten it in my head that he ought to go have fun camping with the guys, but he’d decided to stay with me and the kids. Bossy firstborn that I am, I hate being ignored.
“Don’t you want to climb the mountain?”
Sigh. “I sure bet they’re gonna have fun!”
“You sure you want to stay with us? While they climb the mountain? We’ll probably be bored.”
Sigh. Doesn’t he want to bond with my band of brothers in the Montana wilds?
No. I fumed in silence.
My gut hurts now remembering what a pain I was. I swallowed my frustration and smiled nice for the pictures. The scenery really was stunning – wildflowers bounced in the breeze above a sapphire mountain lake.
As the campers loaded up to climb into the great blue yonder, my brother – not the brother with the urge to scale mind-blowing summits – started moaning. “I feel sick.” He refused to stay back, but the further he went, the worse he looked.
Like a nerd, I missed no opportunity to show off my scanty knowledge of herbs. I pointed out a clump of mountain flowers. “That’s yarrow. It’s good for certain sicknesses.”
My brother snapped off a cluster and popped them in his mouth.
I was horrified.
“John! What are you doing? Herbs are potent! I have no idea what yarrow does!”
He ignored me and kept chewing his cud with a tired stubbornness that made my blood run cold. “John! Please, stop! You don’t eat plants unless you know what they do!”
He didn’t listen. A few minutes later, he gasped. “Whoa. I can feel it working.”
“Good or bad?”
“I don’t know. Weird.”
I begged God not to let him die.
My husband and I followed them up to the sign that warned, “Do not go beyond this point.” There we said goodbye, and I watched them climb over the fence into forbidden territory.
Suddenly I was thankful my husband had ignored me. I didn’t want to take my four children – one of whom was three months old – to find shelter in a strange place without him. I also didn’t want to return to Tennessee a widow.
My gratitude swelled as David drove us into a quiet Montana town where he found us a place for the night. As we made our way into the quaint old cabin, I was delirious with relief that he had stayed with us.
The next day, as he drove us up the most beautiful mountains I’d ever seen – with my mother breathless from fright as the altitude signs kept climbing – he was elevating right along with them to hero status. I loved him for ignoring me the day before.
Like the hero he is, he never once reminded me of my bad attitude. He probably doesn’t even remember it. I sure hope not. Sweetheart that he is, he probably only remembers my delight as I snapped picture after picture of him with our children atop a snow-covered Wyoming peak.
This Tennessee girl left part of her heart in those Montana/Wyoming mountains, thanks to my unbending man who knows to ignore my huffs.
When we went back to pick up the men from the mountain, we found a dire situation. John had gotten worse on the mountain. This was in 2009 when the swine flu was epidemic, and I think that’s what he had. Anyway, it’s a miracle they made it back alive. They could tell you that story much better than I could, though.
On the long drive back to North Dakota, watching him slumped in his seat, my guilt was unbearable. What if the yarrow had made him so sick? John didn’t seem to think so, but I had to look it up.
We pulled up the Bulk Herb Store website, my go-to guide for herbs. There I read,
Yarrow Flower is unsurpassed for flu and fevers. Yarrow will never weaken a patient, because of its tonic action. The plant contains a volatile oil, similar in composition to chamomile oil, which has been medically documented to be a very effective anti-inflammatory agent.
To think that God placed that one flower, the best on earth for flus and fevers, in our path. To think that of all the flowers growing on that path, yarrow was the only one I could identify. To think that God gave the men in my life such a beautiful obstinacy, even when I was determined to sway their resolve.
God’s grace is so abundant. He takes my ugliness and uses it for good! It makes me want to never be a stubborn, angry woman again.
Just praise God that His amazing grace never runs dry. Now, here’s the point of the whole story:
My son was sick this morning. Stomach bug mixed with weird lung wheeze. I brought him a sprig of yarrow and told him the story I just told you. Like his Uncle John, he nipped off a few flowers and chewed it.
“Now chew it good. Herbs work best when they’re well-bruised.”
And it hit me. Herbs are another of the signs woven into creation that point to Jesus!
According to the Bible, herbs have been given to serve man. As far as I know, they only become effective after they’ve been crushed or injured. Unplucked, unbruised herbs don’t do diddley as far as I know.
Jesus was bruised for our iniquities. By His stripes we are healed. Herbs are a symbol of Jesus, the bruised Healer. Maybe you’d seen that before, but it’s a new one for me!
Like I told you in a post a few months ago, when Jesus is revealed, grace is on the way. Look for it!
Cheers for Jesus!
Cheers for grace!
How has Jesus been revealed to you through creation? Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂