Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire

June 20, 2012 | Kam Schaefer

Tolkien wisely wrote these words in his classic work The Hobbit, and I think they adequately express all that has happened in the last few weeks.  A few weeks ago, I was literally frying on a beach in North Carolina.  We were relaxing on vacation and recovering from a busy transition with the end of a college semester and my graduation.  Excited to be on vacation, I spent about eight hours on the beach without thinking.  The result was looking “like a scorched rat” as grandpa described it.  The end of the week of sunshine, good food, and relaxation marked the exit of the frying pan. 

 That Friday, we set out for Yosemite National Park…and into the fire.  I had a 45 hour drive to look forward to with Lauren and Lindsey, two fellow members of the Yosemite ACMNP team.  We spent the time in a cramped Chevy Cobalt surrounded by our luggage.  With three bikes on the back it is questionable whether that car was street legal.  But we made the best of it and arrived in the Grand Canyon within 36 hours of leaving the Outer Banks.  Our idea of a good night’s sleep after such a trip was camping eight miles into the canyon at Hermit’s Creek.  It was glorious. 

Wednesday morning we made the final push to Yosemite and checked in at Human Resources where we completed our paperwork.  After signing my name so many times, I contemplated charging them for my signature. ;)  By dinnertime we were all thoroughly confused but finally assigned to our tent cabins and settled into our new homes for the next few months.  There was definitely a sense of being thrown into the fire, no slow adjustment process.

Being in an unfamiliar place can be scary.  It has definitely taught me much about patience and trust in the short few days I have been here.  God has provided all along the way.  Through frustrations in getting everything figured out here and settled in, there happened to be a free employee BBQ our first night “home”.  It was a major blessing to have a good meal when we were still wondering where each meal would come from.  At the dinner we met someone who has been working here for several years who was kind enough to take us on a quick hike to a place that provides seclusion from the chaos of Yosemite Valley (which I’m daily learning is important to do as much as possible).  Personally, I was anxious about what my roommate would be like.  Turns out he is from Hawaii.  Most people from Hawaii are awesome.  My roommate included.  I am very thankful and most definitely blessed to be placed in these living arrangements.  God is good.  And he present in our lives.  I have certainly seen and felt his presence and influence at work during this frenzied transition time. 

I always think it is important to reflect on where we have been.  Because if we fail to do so, it is impossible to know how we got to where we are.  Likewise, we must have vision to see where we are going.  A hiking trail is a perfect analogy.  We hiked to Glacier Point a few days ago.  It is about 3,000 feet elevation gain over about 4 miles.  From the bottom, we could see where it was we wanted to go.  But along the way we stopped countless times to look back.  To look back at the progress we had made.  To enjoy the ever increasing view and yearn for the real view at the top.  The Christian life is no different.  When I look back at the journey and series of events that led me here to Yosemite, I get excited about this summer and all that God has planned.  In the same way, we can all pause to take stock of where we are, enjoying the view of what God has done in our lives, and look forward to the day when we will stand on the mountain top with Him. 

Until next time,


"I had Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, and Christian friends from France, Germany, Slovakia, Egypt, Jordan, Jamaica, China, Japan, and several other countries. Getting to know them was a great way to broaden my perspective and challenge my worldview. "
– Adam, Calvin Theological Seminary 2010

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