Wednesday, February 7, 2018


By Ada Nicholson Brownell

“Hey everybody! O’Dell just caught sight of a mountain lion not too far away. We need to get back!”

A big group of our extended family hiked on Glade Park, where my sister, Clara, had a second home. The Colorado National Monument towered in the cavernous valley floor nearby. My brother Joe and I had wandered off on our own, recalling our childhood of hunting and finding arrowheads not far away from the farm where we grew up.

The glade on top of the mountain where we hiked now is surrounded by forest, sagebrush, and farm land. It’s beautiful in itself, but the deep rusty red monuments and other amazing formations below always sparked greater awe from me. The view of the Grand Valley of Colorado, home to Grand Junction, Fruita, Clifton, Palisade and smaller communities, could be seen from where we stood. Across the valley the barren book cliff mountains  reached for the clouds to the north and the blue-green flat-topped Grand Mesa huddled another direction. The red rocky mountains ringed around behind us and almost touched the book cliffs in the west.

But now our stimulating hike would be called to a halt by a mountain lion?

“The house is that way,” Joe said.

All my life I’d depended on my older siblings to know my directions, but I am grown up now and I felt Joe was wrong. In my mind it was off to the right, and I scoured the vegetation behind us with my eyes, I was in a hurry and wanted to be sure we could get back to safety.

I knew, though, my directions had been mixed up since we moved away from the Grand Valley. One place we lived the sun came up in the north, according to my senses, even though I knew it came up in the east.

I used to not admit I had such a problem with directions, but my husband couldn’t miss it and my children got a big laugh when we’d go to the mall and I’d want to return to the car out the wrong door. If I did that when I was alone, I’d wonder what happened to my vehicle.

As a reporter I had to go everywhere in our town to write news and features and I got lost several times in the Belmont subdivision because all the streets curve around a hill and make no sense at all. Once I even got lost in a large hotel. I took a wrong turn and couldn’t find my way back to a convention hall until I finally came upon someone who could guide me.

“I think we should going that way,” I occasionally tell my husband when we travel, make a stop and come back to the highway. Most of the time if I were driving we’d start out the opposite direction from where we should be going.

One day my sister who had a business where she had to get bids from the owner told me every time she went into a maze of offices she had to be led out.

“It’s a birth defect!” I cried.

I discovered later some of my other siblings had trouble with directions now and then, while my husband was usually right on.

That day trying to avoid the lion, for once I was correct in my guess where Clara’s mountain home sat. After a little while going that way I saw it in the distance, waved to Joe, and we happily dashed for it.

I’ve discovered if I want to end up in the right place, I need to keep the correct address in mind. I often  need a map, and I need to watch where I’m going and where I’ve been.

I think often of the Israelites who often forsook the way God want them to go and they lived according to what was right in their own minds and became lost spiritually. In addition they wandered in the desert 40 years.

Being directionally challenged makes me want to know where I’m going spiritually, and not depend on what I think is right.  I need to study the Bible instead of guessing about the way to heaven. The Bible has become my map. But the map isn’t enough. I need to follow the directions there. Keeping the goal in mind, I also connect with the Guide, the Holy Spirit, [1] who will guide me into all truth. The Lord will lead into the paths of righteousness, according to Psalm 23. 1 John 1:9 tells me if I confess my sins, He will cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

.”I’m lost!” a woman screamed at the top of her lungs one time in church when I was a child. I’ve never forgotten that. But I also remember after she connected with Jesus she was filled with joy and laughter. The lost was found!

Praise the Lord Jesus found me and I now know the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Even if Satan pursues me like a roaring lion, I’m safe. Now I know where I’m going.

[1] John 6:33 will lead