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‘Someone Has a Real Problem - Oh, It’s Me!’

My friend Barry Thomas and I went camping at Sherando Lake a few summers ago. It had been raining, and more rain was forecast, but we thought we could beat the odds. After we set up our tents I was assigned the duty of gath­ering firewood. Unfortunately, everything was wet because of the rain. I gathered the driest wood I could find, but it wouldn't burn.

Barry was cooking dinner on the Coleman stove, but we wanted a campfire, so we decided I should drive about a mile back to the ranger shack to see if the rangers could point me to where I could buy firewood. On my way out of the campground I noticed another campsite from which campers had recently left and saw a hint of smoke rising from their campfire. "Well, that wood is dry,'' I said to myself. So I pulled in, grabbed a log by its cool end from the fire, and threw it into the back of my truck.

I drove the mile or so down to the ranger shack. When I stopped at the ranger shack I noticed an awful smell and saw smoke. "Oh, no!" I thought, "The ranger shack is on fire!" Then I looked into my rear view mirror ... and it wasn't the ranger shack on fire. It was the log in the back of my truck!

As I was driving, the wind had ignited the embers of that log, and it was burning, along with part of the lining of the bed of my pickup! I put the fire out quickly, but the melted rubber in the lining of that pickup truck is still visible—a reminder of a day when I saw smoke and flames and assumed someone else had a real problem—when, in fact, I had a problem.


Travis Collins, What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming?, (IVP Books, 2018) pgs. 28-29

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