Posted January 25, 2017 by
Tags: Spiritual Life My Wheaton
Skis, Frozen Lakes, and Jesus
I couldn’t describe it adequately to anybody for days.
At least, not until I sat next to Dr. Rob Ribbe, director of HoneyRock and assistant professor of Christian formation and ministry, at lunch yesterday. I regaled him about the ski trip the retreat group and I went on, and when it came time to offer a description of the experience, I grasped for words.
“Rob, it was…”
Nothing came. Rob looked at me patiently as I went to try again.
Nothing. I had no words. Then Rob spoke:
And that was it. I was finally able to describe the clear night when the Wheaton Undergraduate Admissions group of Diakonoi—“Dekes”—and I went skiing on a frozen lake under the light of the moon and a billion stars. The awe that I felt when I saw the moonlight being refracted off a plethora of tiny water crystals, or when the tree line couldn’t have been more clear against the sky, was perfect—just like my Creator. Is that what the ski trip was about? Not to downplay my duties as a retreat host, which I loved (shout out to the Dekes!), but out there on my flimsy skis, I was reduced to awe and wonder before the one who loves me. Some of us can go our whole lives studying scripture and going to church without meeting God in a way that leaves us speechless.
But God wants to meet of us where we are, even if that is on an unscheduled ski trip, during a retreat, having consumed far too much coffee. The place where all of the devices that we use to prop ourselves up fall apart, that's where Jesus is. That’s where we see His perfection and are made perfect ourselves. It’s really something.
I didn’t have the words to describe a ski trip, but I wonder if, in my attempts to do so, I was trying to describe something else—if I was trying to describe someone else.
Silas Wade M.A. '18 is a graduate student seeking a master's degree in Christian Formation and Ministry with an emphasis in Outdoor Adventure Leadership at HoneyRock, Wheaton’s Outdoor Center for Leadership Development. Photo captions (top to bottom): the Wisconsin night sky over Long Lake; students prepare to snowshoe through the miles of wooded trails at HoneyRock, Wheaton's Outdoor Center for Leadership Development.