A Colorado Springs statue centers an intersection by our town’s oldest high school, situated conveniently to cause fender-benders and block visibility.
The statue and school both honor General William Palmer, a Christian Civil War hero, railroad entrepreneur and philanthropist. He donated land for churches, hospitals and businesses in early Colorado Springs and allowed no bars in the city limits. He provided a livelihood for thousands. General Palmer built a castle on Camp Creek to encourage his beloved wife, “Queen”, to the arid area in the wild, west frontier. From a turret in the building, they looked out and called the area, “Glen Eyrie.” Heart issues forced Queen to move to a lower altitude, but she died at 44.
If I were in charge of the world, General Palmer’s generosity would have resulted him and Queen living to a ripe old age, healthy and together.
In the 1950’s the Navigators ministry purchased and turned Glen Eyrie into a retreat where a friend and I held a 2007 reunion for our Christian college. The retreat isn’t a resort but its comfortable rooms, wi-fi, isolation, hikes, buffet breakfasts and views are unsurpassed.
During last year’s fires, Glen Eyrie evacuated but only a few buildings burnt and the castle remained intact. The ministry’s fire mitigation and the lake formed by a dam on Camp Creek assisted fire fighters.
Lost revenue from the cancellation of tours, teas, weddings, camps and retreats, however, hurt.
This year was to be their come-back and all went well until last month when fire-ravaged land upstream couldn’t absorb the once-in-300-years rains. Remaining topsoil raced from burnt areas along the creek and flowed brown as banks flooded.
If I were in charge of the world, they would have a break, not two consecutive years of natural disasters.
Our friends, Joyce and Mike, had reservations for the castle and drove to Glen Eyrie’s entrance last Monday. They traveled 1200 miles for relaxation in a real, live castle.
Joyce and I call each other weekly, and share life. Every time she talked about this vacation, she began planning at the reunion in 2007.
But at Glen Eyrie’s entrance a sign announced: “We are closed!” A polite employee told them, “We are sorry you didn’t get our messages.”
The next morning the creek was sandbagged and vehicles rerouted around damaged bridges so Joyce and Mike checked into the castle.
If I were in charge of the world, my friends’ vacation would have been trouble-free.
Joyce was homesick for her church while she was here, so we googled “independent Baptist churches” and “happened” to visit Lighthouse Baptist Church on Hopeful Drive.
I felt like I was time-traveling because it is very similar to the church in which I grew up with people who came over to meet us.
One young man, dressed in a suit, with a look I can only describe as joy joined the shake-hands-with-visitors parade. He was the youth pastor and had just returned from the hospital.
I thought, “He’s in the right profession if he likes hospital visitation,” but I soon learned why he went there.
His name meant nothing to me because we didn’t watch the news on July 4th weekend, so I missed the story and prayer request.
Joyce said, “Jason Brockman? Mendy? Our church has been praying for her and you but I didn’t know you were in Colorado.” How did she, from Indiana, know about this, and I, living five miles away didn’t?
On July 5, 2013 Mendy drove to Denver’s airport to collect Jason from a Florida preaching assignment. Their four children, six and under, were safely at home. The weather was mild; there should have been no impediments.
Driving south on I-25, a car pulled from the roadside directly into their path. Jason unsuccessfully tried to avoid impact but their vehicle rolled six times. Mendy was pinned upside down with a broken neck(C6/C7). Jason crawled through a window and went for help.
She is working hard in rehab, with feeling and slight movement above her waist thanks to many prayers.
Their six-year-old daughter started kindergarten a few weeks ago without her mommy there to help her get dressed or walk her to school.
Like Glen Eyrie’s second consecutive year of natural disaster, General Palmer’s sorrow and my friends’ mixed up vacation, if I were in charge of the world, I’d put the Brockman family on easy street because they are just trying to please Jesus.
I received no epiphany in church but the words of Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
No, it doesn’t say “all things are good,” but God’s purpose will work good through each situation. If it were up to me, good people would never experience tough times.
I’m convinced we didn’t just “happen” to be at the church I’ve driven past dozens of times. Many of you are prayer warriors and I ask you to join me praying for this dear family! God bless you.
For more information : Mendy Brockman: http://nvbc.org/pray4mendy/ Glen Eyrie Castle and history: http://www.navigators.org/us/ministries/gleneyrie/aboutus/history