The Family Blessing
Mike and Darlene
I will preface this by saying, this is not my story but my brother Mike’s.
My brother is an almost 53 yr old man, who has the demeanor of and carries himself with a quiet but powerful strength. My brother has the adventurous spirit of a wanderer. To me he has always been not so much searching but rather participating in the wonder of that wander.
My brother is much loved by many a friend, his brother, sister’s, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, brother’s in laws, aunt’s, uncles, cousins and most certainly by his adoring wife Darlene.
The love of his life and for a very long time his saving grace has been Darlene. Darlene I believe, is now and will remain always Mikes soul mate. I have never in all my life seen anyone love another, as Mike loves his spouse.
It was for Mike and Darlene, that the story began on Biscuit Rock some 19 yrs ago. They were young, in love and both crazy for the out of doors, so a camping they decided to go. With a small tent, 2 sleeping bags and a cooler they were off to delight in all that nature had to offer. As Darlene tells it they went up a highway that took them to the beautiful Uncompahgre Canyon, Colorado. They kept driving until just around the bend Biscuit Rock (because it looks like a biscuit, go figure) came into view.
They had to cross a bridge which led them to Biscuit Rock. (As I’m writing I’m reminded of how many more bridges there would be to cross in their lives and how much that Rock symbolized for my brother a love never shaken and forever constant.)
The two worked together but struggled to get the small tent upright. After much effort they just threw in the sleeping bags and called it a wrap. Sometime through the night the rain began to fall and it didn’t take much to collapse the tent on top of the two lovebirds. So as the rain fell, so did they down the incline of the hill adjacent to Biscuit Rock. All the while they remained wrapped up snug in the middle of their collapsed tent. They were wet but together and managed to sleep well through the night. All these many years later those two have kept that story close to heart. Sometimes a memory can be the best of medicine.
Now we jump ahead 19 plus years. Mike and Darlene have been married for sometime and their bond has grown stronger throughout the years.
At this point in the story, is when I reference back to crossing the bridge on the way to the Rock. It was over two years ago that Mike and Darlene had a huge bridge to cross in the form of Mikes colon cancer diagnosis. He has remained strong and fought valiantly to cross that bridge with dignity, hope and a fierce tenacity.
Upon Mikes diagnosis he did share with Darlene that when his time came it was back there on the Rock he desired to be.
So not too very long ago he and Darlene decided it was time to go back. Mike needed to go back.
Darlene’s entire family lives there in Colorado but as with most families life and circumstance can take a huge toll. The family had not spent much time together as a unit and like most of us, each had their own cross to bare.
Now with all that said Mike and Darlene didn’t impose on any. They were not in the mind to solicit a family gathering of any kind. They were both just happy to be together and heading to a place where my brother knew he needed to be. Thank God Darlene’s nephew Paul had something else in mind altogether. Paul had rented a twelve person van to transport all on the search for the Rock. Eleven family members and one dog came together on this trip to be blessed on Biscuit Rock. Keep in mind it had been many, many years since this family had all been together in one place at the same time.
The family drove for a very long time in the attempt to locate Mikes beloved Rock. Neither Mike or Darlene were sure of the location but they both knew they would recognize it and so, they eventually did. When the van parked and all passengers disembarked they each started off in their own direction.
Grandson’s Jacob and Brayden went to hike Biscuit Rock. Nephew Paul was off to photograph all the splendor. Brandon, another nephew and his girlfriend were just off to walk. Darlene’s son Dwayne was busy keeping a vigilant eye on his boys. Brandon’s dad Joel and Darlene’s sister Bobby hung out at the van with Mike and Darlene until Mike said he needed to go off on his own. He wanted to be alone with God. My brother was with God that day and my quiet, reserved, ever so strong brother was moved to tears and exhausted upon his return to the van.
It was then, as Darlene tells it that she and Mike knew God’s spirit of grace was at hand that day. Each and every family member was guided by a gentle spirit to join my brother and share their own memories, tears, healing and love. What a gift for my brother to hear how he had influenced their lives, what a gift for them as well.
Grandson Brayden had a piece of the rock as a gift and so Mike would always have it with him.
For Mike and Darlene both, they have never felt such a presence of spirituality and love as in that day. The feeling remained throughout their trip and into a visit with Darlene’s sister Gretchen, who due to her own health issues had not been able to attend. God’s blessing continued as Darlene was also able to spend time with her best friend Marilyn.
Darlene says the trek home from Colorado to Arizona was an arduous one. She said they came upon severe weather in the form of deep snow, rain, ice and fog. There were times when they were out on a deserted two lane highway in 2 feet of snow and she just kept driving with the song “Jesus take the wheel” playing in her head.
After my brother returned from his trip, he called me and asked me to please help translate his blessing into words. My brother wanted to share his story as the love he experienced was shared with him that day when God met him on Biscuit Rock.