The Makeshift Sled


By The Rev. Kip Gilts

One great thing about moving away from home as a teenager is that every time I return to Ohio I’m still a teenager, at least in my mind. So, there are times when I am a bit more impulsive and a bit less responsible than I am in Texas. Such was the setting for “The Makeshift Sled.”

We had driven nearly 1,000 miles and were closing in on the Ohio border. The hills of Kentucky were getting less blue-green and whiter the farther north we drove. Finally, I could stand it no longer. I pulled over at the roadside rest and made my first snowball in two years. My daughter, who was 4 at the time, joined me in my folly. I spotted in the back of our van an old, hard sided, vinyl Samsonite suitcase. “I wonder?” I thought to myself. I then asked my innocent, playful daughter if she wanted to ride on a sled. My trusting child answered affirmatively, and I began trudging up the snow-draped hill with suitcase in hand and offspring at my side.

She was a bit dubious about this endeavor, but I assured her it would work. It worked all right. She went flying down the hill faster than I could run behind her. About half way down the hill I could see my wife’s face—she was not happy. Then I realized why. My little girl was headed right toward our van. The hill stopped abruptly with about a 5-foot drop off onto a grassy strip that led to the parking lot—oops! I ran even faster but managed only to get close enough to see my daughter fly onto the snowy grass below and the suitcase plop behind her and roll onto her sprawled out body. Fortunately, she was all right, but she was not much into sledding that Christmas in Ohio.

Psalm 116:6 says the Lord looks after the simple. I know that means those whose primary focus is on God, but I can’t help but think that it means another kind of “simple” too. Thank God!

Prayer: Dear Lord, there are so many times when we have unknowingly placed others and ourselves in harm’s way, yet you have kept your hand upon us. Thank you for watching out for us. Amen.