Our youngest granddaughter (15) is in Nashville with 5000 other teens for a youth convention. After four days and nights in that spiritual hyper-atmosphere, they will go to the Atlanta inner city for ministry. They will stay in an Atlanta motel with armed guards.
I’m praying for Hannah and the five van loads of kids that went with her. I am feeling a mix of fear and jealousy. She is experiencing something she will never be able to quite describe. When was the last time I have been on that kind of frontier? She told me she would debrief us on the experience.
I’ve been traveling with Theodore Roosevelt and his expedition down a tributary of the Amazon River through the Amazon rain forest. Candice Millard, the author of The River of Doubt describes some of the journey.
“…(The) Amazonian jungle, which had never seemed welcoming, had begun to feel not just dark and dangerous, but inescapably oppressive. It was a sensation that most outsiders who plunged into that dense, inscrutable wilderness experienced, and it left behind an indelible almost violent impression.”
The Polish explore Arkady Fielder wrote that after he and his companions had spent months in the Amazon rain forest, “something began to go wrong in us.” The forest was stifling. Roosevelt’s companions spoke of “relentless monotony.”
The camaradas (native workers and guides) were “deeply affected by the forest’s stifling monotony, the river’s myriad dangers, and their own dark fears, and the American officers charted the emotional decline with growing alarm.” (p 310)
The expedition could see brilliant colors, but could not make out animals or humans who watched their every move. The explorers knew they were prey and at any moment, they could fall into the hands of predators—nothing personal, they were just in a place where Darwin’s Theory was not questioned and the food chain operated efficiently.
I’m desiring neither emotional overload or monotony. Adrenaline on one hand, monotony on the other. Boredom is as great a stressor as poison spears. It is the satisfaction with the mundane and sameness that is the threat. It hangs heavy from every branch until it invades the soul and turns it dark.
I updated the Gone to Southwood manuscript yesterday after Carole’s sister edited it. I wrote the original story twelve years ago. It will go to the publisher next week. There are scenes in that story that always create excitement and emotional response in me. The Saturday that Della and Charlie visit Southwood to tell their stories and sing harmony with Brent. The prophecy concerning the Depot and the treks up the thirty-two wooden stairs up into the widow’s watch—they touch me each time I read those stories.
It is the vision, the empowerment by God and how God does His work that drives away the monotony or boredom. I want you to participate in the Southwood Experience. I have prayed that you will experience Kingdom life in your own “rain forest” and River of Doubt expedition.
D. Dean Benton
Benton Quest House
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