I’m not sure when our Alaska dream began.
My guess is 1973. That’s when Jake’s friends climbed Mt. Denali without him because he broke his leg two weeks before the expedition.
That was six months before I met Jake.
If he’d climbed that mountain, maybe he would have stayed up north forever.
But in a farm accident he broke his leg that spring and we met that summer and got married and tootled on with our lives for about 17 years, moving around, collecting experiences and friends and daughters . . .
. . . all the while, holding on to the dream to go to Alaska.
Then one weekend, on a family camping trip, the dream turned into a plan.
We were living in Bolivia at the time, and, as you know, Alaska is really far away from South America, but no matter, we started planning.
The whens and hows and whats filled our conversations and kept our minds clicking for about two years.
It was fun imagining the big adventure.
But three times during those two years, reality broke through and I took the Alaskan pictures and maps off the dining room wall.
Too much money.
Too much time to take off.
Too far away.
And too many kids.
But each cancellation brought loud protests. Our girls, then ages 4, 7, 10, and 12, refused to let the dream die, so back on the wall the maps went: None of us wanted to give up the dream.
Looking forward to Alaska helped us through some hard times. I especially was struggling spiritually and finding it hard to believe in God’s love.
Then finally, June, 1991: North to Alaska!
From the flying over forested fjords landing in Anchorage to the goodbyes, a month of outdoor adventures later, I was overwhelmed with the powerful grace and love of God.
Wild experiences (like trying to sleep in tents with daylight all night and riding in our car up on a train and backpacking five miles along Resurrection River to a lovely rustic cabin) and spectacular scenery (seeing the moss green waters of glacial rivers and the drunken trees trying to grow in the permafrost and the mountaineering town of Talkeetna at the base of Denali) are documented not only in photos but also in my heart’s mind.
I still receive pleasure remembering those stores. Thank you, Lord, for Alaska!
That whole Alaska dream experience teaches me so much.
Jake’s dream to climb Mt. Denali was dashed. But it spawned another dream to take the family.
Dreams add meaning and energy to life, giving an emotional and spiritual richness that goes both backwards and forwards.
Looking backwards, I praise God for the dreams He fulfilled in the past.
And I can thank Him for the dreams He didn’t.
Facing forward, I trust Him to give me more dreams.
I can face the future with hope.
I thank God for helping us go to Alaska, and for teaching me lessons from that dream.
But more: I thank Him for giving me a dreaming spirit, and for the coming adventures in His New Earth . . . eternally and inconceivably greater than Alaska.
(1 Cor. 2:9)