Simon, the Angel and the Bibbulmun Track
A man finds his way to the Lord.
First Published in the Christian Gazette
Note: The Bibbulmun Track is a long distance walk trail in Western Australia. It runs from Kalamunda, east of Perth to Albany and is almost 1,000 kilometres long
I was an atheist. I was married and had a couple of kids. The marriage ended in 2000.
I bought a house and got the kids half the time. Life goes on.
I stayed single for a long time, four or five years and then I met someone.
She was pretty exciting.
She rode a Triumph motorcycle like I do. She was good looking and she loved to party and have fun.
She was everything that I thought I wanted.
Funny thing though, was all that I seemed to get out of it was pain and misery.
I found myself living beneath my own moral code.
I found that I had adjusted down to her standards, and I didn’t like it.
Her shenanigans had me crawling on all fours like a beast, I lost my pride, my manhood and I lost my joy.
I drove myself to the point of madness trying to understand her. I burned myself trying to hold on to her.
As the years went on her need for drama manifested in bigger and bigger events usually culminating in her leaving with all the money and furniture.
Then there would be a cooling off period and she would come back and I would welcome her.
Then the cycle would begin again.
In the end there was a great big bust up and when she came back she put it to me that it was her insecurity that was the problem and that if we were married she would have no reason to be insecure.
I told her I would marry her for no other reason than that I loved her. So it was agreed and we eloped.
Six months later she was gone again, this time I didn’t take her back. I received a phone call from her daughter a year later stating she was in hospital with brain cancer.
The Bibbulmun Track
I was on the Bibbulmun track (900km long bush track from Perth to Albany) when she died.
I’m walking along through the forest miles and miles from anywhere.
I hadn’t seen anyone for at least a week. I tramped up a scarp and descended into a valley and broke through the dense forest into a glade and stopped to take in the scene.
I walked into a forest glade and there’s a stream, white sand, grass trees, majestic Jarrah and splendid wrens all lit up by big beams of light breaking through the canopy.
The glade was bordered by old growth Jarrah trees. There was a meandering stream at the foot of the hill bordered by a copse of Wandoo. The forest floor gave way to pure white sand, and here and there were magnificently tall grass trees were seemingly placed with the sole purpose of pleasing the eye.
I stood frozen to the spot. There was something about that place.
One got a glimpse for just a moment in time of Eden and of how the world should be. The sunlight broke through the canopy in great shafts illuminating the water and sending dancing jewels onto the trunks of the Wandoo.
Splendid wrens were bobbing about on the forest floor coming close to me with obvious cheeky curiosity painted across their little faces. Like mice they are. Tiny little mousey grey birds that run hither and thither but with the most magnificent deep electric blue tails.
Then there’s the males, how magnificent is his plumage. The first time I saw one I nearly died with delight. What an aptly named bird the ‘Splendid Fairy Wren’. To cap it all as I was drinking it all in, a flock of red tailed black Cockatoos manifested itself and put on its raucous comedy routine for my benefit.
I suddenly realized that I was not alone. I’m standing there taking it all in when all of a sudden I notice there’s someone standing next to me.
I nearly jumped out of my skin! After all this was the middle of nowhere. I jumped six feet into the air and went through my full repertoire of expletives.
He just regarded me with calm interest. I’m not given to nervousness but let me tell you, when you are in the middle of nowhere and someone appears beside you it is most disconcerting. While I’m cheerfully swearing this guy is just regarding me with mild curiosity.
Eventually I calm down a bit and I asked him where he sprang from, ‘Just up the track away’ he reckons. ‘Lying bastard’ thinks I, we are miles at least 40kms from the nearest road but still I decided to leave it be. He then asked me where I was going. I told him I was going to the next hut about 10kms up the track. He asked if he could walk with me and I agreed.
Turns out after the initial shock and my suspicions about his arrival that he was a good guy. He was dressed in smicko ultra-light hiking gear with a little day pack on his back as opposed to me who looked like a Yosemite Sam.
He was over 6 foot tall with those kind of piercing ice blue eyes aka Paul Newman and blonde hair and about my age.
He had a kind of air of quiet power about him, I liked him. We talked or rather he asked and I talked. He asked me what I did and I told him I was a builder/carpenter. Then he said a curious thing.
He said a man that works with his hands and that builds and creates is ‘blessed’ because it is against his nature to destroy and by his understanding of the value of things he comes to cherish harmony.
Strange thing to say I thought but then I conceded to myself yep, that’s me. I asked him what he did.
Turns out he was a builder too. A carpenter, but he gave it all up to go hiking all over the world.
He actually used the words ‘I walk the Earth’. Imagine!
He told me his name was David and that he had sold all he had and that he just went around the world ‘exploring’. We talked about some deep stuff.
I was lamenting that we seem to squander our precious lives selling ourselves into servitude to pay interest on money that doesn’t exist that is backed by nothing and created out of thin air so that we can buy a miserable patch of land that we can never truly own.
I ranted and raged and vented and occasionally he would drop in a quote from some great thinker or theologian, ‘A yes, Marx said such and such’ or ‘Mohammed said this and that’ etc.
He was a very impressive guy, extremely knowledgeable with an aura of power and quiet strength with brilliant ice blue eyes. We got where we were going and we talked a little more on philosophy and the meaning of life and he told me that ‘fear is the key’ and that ‘fear is the chain that binds us and not to be afraid of the world’.
He then rattled off five or six quotes the whole time staring at the ground whilst drawing circles in the sand saying’ Buddha says this and Krishna says this’ etc…
Then he looked up and fixed me with those steely blue eyes and said to me – ‘Ah…but do you know what JESUS said regarding the WORLD?
He said ‘Be in it but not of it!’ And off he went into the forest half an hour before night fall, 50kms from the nearest road.
I lit a fire and upon opening the hut log book box I discovered a Gideon’s Bible which I still have with me today. I immediately grabbed it and began to read Genesis and read this;
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Then I got to all the ‘Begetting’, and I opened the book randomly and read this.
Proverbs 21:19 It is better for a man to wander alone in the wilderness than dwell with an angry and contentious woman.
Proverbs 7:11 She was loud and rebellious and her feet would not stay at home.
Proverbs 5:1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: 2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. 3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: 4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. 6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. 7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:
And last but not least….
Proverbs 6:27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
I gave my life to the Lord.
The path home IS the Lord.
He is the “Way.”