Colton’s Great Adventure
In the process of growing through stages of life, there are none quite like the one we term the Journey to Manhood. If you reel way back in this blog you will see Taylor Pettit, my 12-cum-13 grandson, going through this process over several posts. Poor Colton…he gets one summary entry. This 12-year-old made his trip from Colorado to California with his father, the family therapist, for five intense days.
This is long for a blog, but a short, good read nevertheless. I’m going to start with my own report since it has such a significant bearing on how the Lord intervened on Colton’s behalf to make this a God-framed event.
I have advanced prostate cancer, a pretty aggressive variety, and it’s got a good grip on my skeletal structure. I appear to carry myself in a pretty “normal” fashion, and seem healthy to the casual observer. But the biggest side effect is the limits to my walking. I was concerned about my being a full participant in the really cool schedule of events I’d set up for Colton and Matt. Using the customary oncologist formula, I’m supposed to be pretty much at the end of the standard time line.
But I’m not.
I keep a spread sheet to keep track of my general and physical status. Peculiar, I know, but helpful. Every day except the last half of the last day after they hit the road, I was scoring 7 ad 8 on a ten scale. “Normal” would be 5 and dropping. That we could go night and day was a gift to Colton gift from On High. They left Tuesday. My next chemo day (a new “breakthrough” formula) was Wednesday. The doctor called after I returned to report a remarkable event. My numbers had been climbing, but suddenly they took a dive. I smiled broadly and whispered, “Praise the Lord.” My doctor heard it and agreed.
Speaking of a “dive,” we are now back to Colton’s story. So, the first day of their arrival was a half round of golf (Carolyn and I live on an RV resort right off eighth green). Two great events: Colton, who has proved himself a natural athlete and hunter, beat me by one or two strokes each hole. The other event is that I walked the entire route on chemo legs.
Next day, our thespian-inclined young man, got a personalized tour of Azusa Pacific University’s (Cari’s excellent alma mater) theatrical and cinema department. Impressive. Inspirational. Then after a two-hour meal at a Brazilian steakhouse (12 varieties of meats brought to your table throughout the evening on a sword), we took in a play. That meant a late night return. Short sleep for growing boy/man and an old man facing a maximum demand day ahead.
This Saturday proved a highlight. One of Matt’s former charges at Aspen Ranch lived in La Jolla, a high grade beach town with a cove famous for it’s aquatic preserve and great snorkeling. And, he happen to work at a shop that rents snorkeling and kayaking equipment. What a day! And this is where I tell you I was as impressed with Matt (who doesn’t like swimming all that much) as I was with Colton. Colton, got slammed with a snorkel malfunction on his first attempt to swim out. We made it back to the beach, fixed the problem, and very impressively charged out as if he had not nearly drowned minutes earlier. MAN meets challenge! His description of the wonderful new underwater world was a treasure, especially the part where a “huge” sting ray swam right under him.
So, where is Matt, we wondered. I even asked a life guard. He spotted Matt and our experienced water-world host and guide, Henry, “swimming around that point over there. They’ll be back, there’s no way out without coming back.” Colton and I hiked the cliff line to finally find the two of them had swum through the seals and made their way up the rocks in heavy surf. Matt, “you da MAN!” Seems a special manhood event beside Colton’s was under way. A celebratory lunch, meeting with Henry’s family, 31 Flavors, and a movie—“Zero Dark Thirty”—capped the day. Now that was a men’s day out!
Ahhhh, Sunday, a day of rest. Sorta. After church, it was a a trip up the nearby mountains to the famous Palomar Observatory and museum. Monday? Oh that was men’s Bible study (The Man God Uses). But before we participated in the study, we met with a group of men who showed up early specifically to share with Colton what it was like in their family and professional life to walk with the Lord. Some shared how they came to the Lord late in life. Their life changes were dramatic.
You’ll never guess what the next event was. Colton “shadowed” (that’s the term the doctor’s staff used) our family physician, a serious practicing Christian, by making rounds, following staff as they did their routines, and even sitting in on my semi-annual physical. We rounded out the day, unfortunately, with another round of golf. By this time my “7” had dropped back to “5” so I “let” Colton beat me on a couple more holes and called it quits.
Oh, there was one more event just before they left on Tuesday. Colton had a choice. He very nicely offered to go on the two-man glider ride since this was likely the last time I’d have the chance to fly with him. I thanked him but let him go with his real choice and watched him take the solo (with pilot) acrobatic glider. What a thrill to see them turn every which way but loose. When the glider leveled out above the field, we assumed Colton had gotten sick. Nope, just not enough air speed and altitude. He actually was given the controls for part of the flight and has one of those Go Pro videos of this man-sized event in his young life.