Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – My Wilderness ESCAPE

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Whenever I hear the word Escape, the first thing that pops in my mind is a song by Rupert Holmes with that same name (when it’s not being referred to as ‘The Pina Colada Song, of course).

“If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain…

then write to me and escape.”

Those lines instantly evoke a sense of joyfulness and of being carefree –

a feeling we all desire.

(Or maybe they evoke in you a desire to write about your own planned escape – if so, I’d love to hear about it.)

Just like in this song, we may get to various points in our lives when we feel as if we need to plan an escape from “reality.” (Just like just then, when I wrote we because, in reality, I needed some backup and didn’t want to admit that it translated to I in that sentence.) Well, I am still betting you can relate to our escape plan.

Some days, admittedly and incredibly, I find escape in my work, simply running from one form of reality to seeking solace in another. Other days, I find my escape as I get caught up in reading a fantastically fictional story where I wish I could play the protagonist’s part. Ironically, I find that my most pleasurable times of escape, though, aren’t really when I’m trying to get away from life; but when I’m working on a life adventure of my own, either through engagement with nature and others, or engagement among my characters or the words in my mind as I write.

Throw in a little pina colada and some dancing in the rain, and I guess I’m in business.

Sometimes, our life escapades come out differently than how we’ve anticipated.

(At least mine do.)

Truthfully, without sounding dramatic or even getting into the details, I can honestly say I’ve escaped death a time or two in my life – but those instances were direct consequences of poor decisions either I made or someone else made on my behalf (or, in one instance, didn’t make in time).

That thought brings me around to my response for the Let’s Be Wild Weekly Challenge on Escape.

When I was in the Holy Land, out wandering a little myself down the Wadi Qelt in the Judean wilderness,

I had some time to think about a couple of the famous escapes associated with this place.

When the Hebrews escaped their bondage from Egypt under the leadership of their prophet, Moses, they wandered through the wilderness for 40 years, according to the Torah. As Moses stood on Mount Nebo (aka Pisgah), he looked down into the Promised Land, the area we distantly view here that includes Jericho. As I stood there, in that same place (or close to it, anyway) thinking on this, I came to the conclusion that

Sometimes we have to be patient and persistent for our escape to come to fruition.

Other times, our escape may be very different than anything we’ve planned for ourselves,

as it was with Moses.

Deuteronomy 34:1-5
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho….
Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised….I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.” And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab…but to this day no one knows where his grave is.

Another thought as I looked upon a Bedouin herd, finding grass where I might have said there was none to be had:

When it comes to making an escape, perhaps one person’s deserted path is another’s prime pasture.

I was also reminded on this pathway that I traveled, along the Wadi al Qelt was where the Story of the Good Samaritan took place in scripture. Don’t let my high elevation shot fool you here. When walking the Wadi Qelt, it becomes easy to see how readily bandits can hide in the surrounding area and surprise someone along the path unexpectedly.

Luke 10:25-37
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers…” (vs. 30).

That man was left for dead by the robbers and by two others that couldn’t be bothered to help him. But because of the least likely person that would’ve been expected to help him along the way (the Samaritan), the robbed and beaten man was cared for and escaped death.

Sometimes the people we would least expect might be the ones to assist us in making our escape.

Sometimes, like the dry places in my life, the Wadi Qelt looks a lot like death, void of much of anything living, until a little spring of life sneaks in and obscurely announces itself. That was the case with this area of green growth, boldly announcing where Herod’s aqueduct came through, supplying water for life along its path.

At other times in life, I might be moving along on high ground and can’t even fathom what surprises might await me in the deep recesses if I’ll just take time to escape to them and explore around there.

In this case, I did, and was welcomed in by priests serving lemonade and cookies. This monastery was built around an expanse of caves, one in which Elijah resided while hiding out from King Ahab and the ill-tempered Queen Jezebel. The bible story says ravens came and fed Elijah, and I’d never dispute that birds could very well have done just that. However, it’s also rumored that the cave-dwellers who lived along the sides of those ridges were called a named that translates to sound very similar to ‘raven.’

To tell you the truth, I enjoy escaping into the possibility of either of those story versions.

Here’s a modern-day look on the inside of Elijah’s cave, if you’re interested in seeing the place of his escape:

The final escape story with which I was faced during my own wilderness experience was when I stood upon the Mount of Olives, looking over the Garden of Gethsemane. This was the place where Jesus went to pray, just before he was arrested and later crucified. A portion of his prayer was, if there was any other way for salvation of the people to take place, for that cup to be taken from him. After that, he ended his prayer obediently, saying, ‘Not my will, but yours be done, Father.’

I wonder how often I’ve worked to escape from uttering those words in my life when the price wasn’t nearly so high for me?

It wasn’t until I stood above that very spot, overlooking that garden, when I came to realize the physical choice Jesus had made there. If this had been a modern-day movie, for instance, things would’ve looked very despondent for the hero; then, just before the worst possible outcome, he would have turned the other way – and escaped. By our standards, that would’ve made for the perfect ending. And let me assure you, he could’ve done just that – escape would’ve come all too easily. On one side of this garden lay Jerusalem (which you can see, now in modern-day, in the background of this photo).

But when you’re standing up on that mount, if you turn and look out to the other side, you’ll find there is an entire wilderness into which Jesus could’ve chosen to escape – the same wilderness into which Elijah escaped quite easily from King Ahad and Queen Jezebel.

Instead, Jesus chose to do his Father’s will and stay right where he was in that garden, awaiting his capture. He chose to accept the sentence for those deeds that really belong on my head. Standing there, as a Christian, I had to acknowledge in my belief and in that place that He had chosen to stay there and take a punishment to allow me to be the one to escape it.

He became my emergency escape hatch.

What better escape could I ever ask for or plan than that?

In this realization, more than anywhere on my walk,

My wilderness experience surely taught me to always look for the unexpected Escape Hatches & Doors to explore, regardless of where I am in life.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t take time to wish this same joyful and carefree escape route for you, my friends.

***

Just for kicks,

I’m participating in the LetsBeWild.com Wild Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s Challenge is: Escape

Make Your Own Escape to see the winning entries here!

***

What, Where, How (or maybe Who) is your Favorite Escape?

I’d love to hear about it, if you dare to share…

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