Lessons on the trail
I did some hiking recently in uncharted territory in northern Arizona. Â For those who know me, it goes without saying that any hiking territory is unfamiliar to me. I don’t hike, but I have friends who do, and I aspire to be able to climb mountain trails and leap tall buildings with them.
It was quite an adventure since I am a novice when it comes to hiking. Â I love to walk, but hiking is quite different, so I learned. I do believe the hike was two miles long. It was a totally isolated trail in the woods, leading to the top of a mountain.
My friend and I headed up the narrow trail, stopping occasionally to take a quick break, drink water, and marvel at how far we had come. Iâ€™ve learned over the years, itâ€™s always best to have someone walk beside me when Iâ€™m on any unfamiliar path, or trail in life.
And isnâ€™t that true â€“ having someone come along side you when you are going through something youâ€™ve never experienced before can make it a little easier. Itâ€™s also helpful to have the support and share the experience together. Besides that, itâ€™s certainly better than talking to yourself.
There were a couple of times I just wanted to give up, turn around, and go back. I have also learned over the years, that when any journey Iâ€™m on seems steep, long, and difficult, I put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. Itâ€™s never easy, but reaching my goal is worth it. In times like this, I remember the story of â€œThe Little Engine That Couldâ€. I think I can, I think I can, said the little engine, as she pushed up the hill. I become that little engine pushing on up the hill.
About half way up, we met two people on their way down the trail. Well, let me tell you, itâ€™s always good to meet someone whoâ€™s been where Iâ€™m going. If for no other reason than to know someone else has made it! I asked the first questions that came to my anxious mind as they passed by rather quickly. Whatâ€™s it like ahead? How much farther is it to the top? Whatâ€™s it like there? They calmed any fear I had of the unknown trail ahead. They told us how much farther we had to go and gave us insight into what we could expect.
Itâ€™s kind of like anything weâ€™re going through in life, isnâ€™t it? There is comfort in knowing someone else has been there, done that. Thereâ€™s nothing like someone saying, itâ€™s going to be alright, hereâ€™s what you can expect, Iâ€™ve been through this and you can make it.
Needless to say, we made it to the top of the mountainâ€¦ and back down! The amazing views of the landscape below were breathtaking. The emerald green forest rippled with wild flowers and distant lakes sparkled and swirled like ribbons. I wouldnâ€™t have missed it. It was worth every step, every anxious moment, every tired bone in my body.
The next time you face a challenge, or something unfamiliar ahead of youâ€”donâ€™t do it alone, donâ€™t give up, and be on the lookout for someone who crosses your path, whoâ€™s been where youâ€™re going. You will learn a lot along the way and discover you really do have the ability to reach your goal.
Iâ€™m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, donâ€™t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but Iâ€™ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onwardâ€”to Jesus. Iâ€™m off and running, and Iâ€™m not turning back” (Philippians 3:12-14, The Message).Â