Okay, I confess that I have done a lousy job managing stress in the past couple of months. Too many meetings and not enough down time. Too many deadlines and not enough uptime with friends or family members. Too many long distance flights and not enough short distance slides at the children’s playground with my grand babies. The result? The smile that I used to wear has vanished and been replaced by the worried look of a man that has lost sight of why he worked so hard in the first place. Given the hectic pace of life and some projects that just won’t wait, I’ve been perplexed about how to get at least a short term reprieve from the grind. The answer showed up this afternoon in the form of a two-year old with big brown eyes.

My beloved grand daughter, Bella Esther, took Gapa for a hike in the woods behind our house. Along the way, we listened to the wind in the tops of the trees, kicked the leaves on the path, marveled at a tiny tree frog, and walked without a word being said in the wonderful masterpiece of God that is an Autumn day in the Michigan forest. As we shuffled along, Bella’s tiny hand held tightly to one of my fingers and didn’t let go for a moment. So caught up in the beauty of the woods, Bella didn’t notice the tears on old Gapa’s face as we slowly made our way back home.

You know, a funny thing happened on that hike. Never once did I think about work or deadlines or stress or anything other than that beautiful young lady in the making that loved me unconditionally and trusted me to get her home safely.

When Bella left Gapa’s house this evening, I sat and pondered how at times, we need to grab hold of the hand of God and just walk along side, nice and easy. After all, He’s the one that loves us unconditionally and He’s the one that will get us home…safely. There. That’s better.