The important things in life can be hard to see

March 21, 2024

By Jeff Becraft


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak at a weekend camp for a  children’s home. It was a fabulous experience.

On my way home I would be driving right by our son and his family’s neighborhood. So, I called him up and asked if we could get together. He told me that they would be skiing… but that the ski slopes were not that far from the route I would be taking. A chance to see the grandkids on the ski slopes? I told him I was in!  (To watch, that is.  A few years ago I did a Friday email on some of my skiing adventures… like running over the girl with the red hair. It has been years since I have been on skis so I was just watching this day.)

Our granddaughter is 4 and our grandson is 2. I have marveled at Josiah and his wife, Deanna, and all the adventures their kids have had at such a young age.  (And having youngin’s on the slopes at that age is a lot of work for the parents. My hat is off to them.)

Our granddaughter had done her first solo run a few weeks before. Our grandson had done his first partial run with no one holding on earlier that day.

And now I am getting the chance to see them in action.

Pictures this if you can… I get my position on the back deck… staring straight into the sun. I am looking up the ski slope… the ski slope that is reflecting every ray of sun that is beaming down.  (I already can’t see or hear and I am old and grumpy… that is why they call me O.G…. you know the deal.) Every single person is a silhouette.

Our grandson is dressed in bright orange bibs with a bright yellow helmet. He looks like a construction worker. It didn’t help me a bit.

I totally miss the first run of both grandkids.

I decide this is not going to work.  I see a slight path next to the snow fence by the ski lift.  I figured I should go there and I might be able to have a better chance of following them if I see them get on the lift.

So O.G. is in motion… wearing old tennis shoes (that I call bowling shoes) with worn soles. After I walk down the steps, I have to slosh through the mud and water from the melted snow.  (If only I were a pig, I would be loving life.) But then I have to go up this hill, in the bowling shoes, and try to look cool. It didn’t happen… looking cool I mean. I looked like a person on ice skates who had never been on ice skates. Arms flailing, back arching, the whole nine yards. But I never bit the dust (or snow).

When I got to the top of the hill, it is not flat. It is still sloped. I am trying to chisel a level landing ground with the bowling shoes… without any success. I am also trying not to grab hold of the snow fence (the fence that is there to keep out people like me) and rip it down and drag it with me as I slide and roll down the slope.  My calves are now burning because I am having to use every muscle and tendon I have to keep from sliding back down the hill.

Even from this vantage point, everyone is still a silhouette.  It did help on one run when my daughter-in-law and granddaughter yell at me, “Poppi!”… and I catch the last 20 yards of their run. Catching things on video was another story. No one is in the center of the screen. Even with the verbal heads-up, I could just point the camera in the general direction. Still looking into the sun and the glare off the slopes, my screen is just flat out dark and I can’t see anything on it.

After some more verbal announcements and some third base signals further up the slope (arms waving), I did get to see a couple of runs. It is one of my highlights for 2024.

There are some things… important things… in life that can be harder to see sometimes. Circumstances, distractions, other people, moods, etc., may darken them from our sight.

But it is worth the effort to look for them… and keep looking for them… and not let other things blind us from what is most important.


Jeff Becraft is the Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Our Place of Hope is a paradigm shift for people living with mental illness that encourages them to regain meaning, purpose, and hope for their lives. You can connect with Jeff at  [email protected].