Some days you just have to do the hard work of clearing a path if you want to fly right.
You must trudge.
You must lean into the resistance and not run from it because every kid knows this one thing:
A proper pathway yields maximum flying power.
Some days you have to put your sister and your brother on the toboggan because their weight will pack the snow down faster, even though your muscles burn fire through your coat when you pull them uphill.
Some days you have to be exceptionally patient, the kind of patience that sets the jaw and squints the eye.
When you finally reach the top of the hill and your chest is heaving and your nostrils are breathing frost and you realize you’re going to have to do this many times, you find that you are thankful for the camaraderie.
Good fellowship is what the dictionary says it means, but there is so much more to the word. Camaraderie is more about a bond of trust and conviviality that welds a life done together so well.
Oh, so that’s it… to trust one another while feasting on joy…that’s what it means to be convivial.
You spend the better part of the morning carving a path that winds around prickly bushes that stab thorns and curves past fir trees in blanket snow. Your back trickles sweat all the way down to your snow pants. You don’t care. You pull your comrades one final time up over the top and gaze over the summit. The path below glistens with a hard glare because you and your sisters and brother have done the work that matters. The kind of work that requires so much muscle. The kind of work that so many quit half way through.
It is time to fly.
You tell everyone, especially the littlest ones, that they must hang on tight.
There is only one exception and it is this: If you yell “Bail!”
You look into the eyes of your little sister and your even littler brother and tell them with all the seriousness you can muster that they must ditch to the sides if they hear you yell “Bail” because this means you are in danger of a collision with either a face full of thorns or tree bark.
But you know that this is what flying right is all about. You link arms with others who are willing to trudge. You laugh with them in the middle of sweat and aching limbs. You don’t let the danger stop you.
You take your position in the front of the toboggan because you are the oldest. You know immediately when the toboggan begins its descent that you have succeeded in making the pathway right because you are flying down the hillside so fast your face burns harsh. You narrowly miss the prickly bushes but it only elicits squeals of delight from your comrades in the back.
But then…near the end…speed has a way of taking over and “Bail!” comes screaming out of your mouth. The little ones really do ditch but you and your other sister don’t have time and within seconds you are being driven up the side of a fir tree only to dangle there upside down from a low branch, your foot tied up in the toboggan rope. That is when big laughter peals pell mell all the way down the mountain. Though you ended up in a tree at the end of the line, you flew right and fast and you were not killed!
You are joyful for comrades who were willing to pull the rope with you. You are joyful for comrades who trudged all day alongside you. You are joyful that you are about to do it all over again.
Nobody really wants to fly solo.
Not even the hermit who thinks he’s done the world a favor by taking up residence alone in the woods only to bump into humanity when it is necessary to get supplies and mutter how the world has all gone to hell because of all these…people.
There is some truth to his philosophy.
We really are in the pickle we’re in right now because of people giving up camaraderie with the Ancient of Days Himself, instead, giving heed to a slithering voice by a tree. What the poor hermit doesn’t get is that there is a wild ride to taken…an adventure to be lived because the hard work of carving out a pathway to the Ancient of Days has already been done.
Two beams, three nails and Jesus did the job.
Jesus took the beams and the nails because of the joy set before Him:
Camaraderie with us.
Who wants to go for a ride?