(I wrote this article in July 2006.)
A lack of preparation can lead to unfortunate and even harrowing results.
I nearly drowned at camp yesterday, during, of all circumstances, a baptism! It all had to do with a lack of experience, knowledge, and restraint.
The Dolores River was running high and fast yesterday. A night of heavy rain along the West Dolores fork had turned the river red with mud and much swifter than usual. Until yesterday, I had not ventured into the river, even when it was more “tranquil.” I had not yet familiarized myself with the firm footings, rocks, depressions, chasms, and currents. As I stepped into the river, I was walking like a blind man into a world I had not before experienced.
In water about four feet deep, I slipped on a rock and all of a sudden was on my side drifting rather rapidly (in my startled perception) downstream. I could not get my feet on the river bottom. I was in a desperate situation.
By the way, I am not a swimmer. I can dog paddle in the most peaceful of waters, but navigating my body in a swift river is a skill that is far from me. I managed to get myself erect and was able to baptize a special young lady into Christ and his church, yet the experience left me quite shaken and humbled.
I learned a lesson yesterday: a wise man is careful where he treads. Jesus spoke about the prudence of counting the costs of entering into an enterprise. He spoke specifically of building a barn and going to war, using the two illustrations to speak of the due diligence that should be involved in one’s decision to follow the Lord. A more general lesson is the importance of doing your homework before you enter into a project or make a commitment.
Wisdom is part foresight, part experience, part caution and reasoned thought. Mistakes are often made by the hasty, the uninformed, the rash and brash.
The right shoes don’t hurt, either! I was wearing old, worn-out tennis shoes without an ounce of tread on them.