I may have asked twice on Wednesday.
“So, are we going to go hiking tomorrow?”
Jason and I were long overdue for a date day, a date anything. Summer went quickly. First half was family-centered and expensive. Second half, we scattered like squirrels. Each running up our own tree, except when the boys colluded in their own “treehouse”.
In his humble way, Jason casually let me know he had been thinking about taking me to Caledonia State Park for a couple weeks. (heart swell)
I was just a tad bit excited to revisit my hiking boots.
An early start, we arrived ready to hike one or quite possibly two trails.
The ground flat and damp.
A quaint trickle of a stream nearby. Jason noticed the minnows. I noticed His sky.
The forest is an invitation to His nature, His peace.
We are visitors in a world
where trees live and die
creatures slither and fly
rhythms of dark and light
move in silent delight
While our legs carried us, we both wondered aloud if the trail would bring us up … higher. To my utter surprise, Jason shared he didn’t research the trails.
Wow! I was proud he showed up to hike by-the-seat-of-his-pants.
Eventually, we came to a crossroads. (Don’t we all?)
We chose to veer and take the next trail. A passage we thought to get us closer to the clouds.
My happy feet traversed the jaggy rocks. Expectantly, I leaned forward to gain momentum and brave the incline.
When scaling a mountainside is not your regular mode of exercise, you breathe heavier than usual.
“You don’t want to stop, better to breathe and slow the pace. If you stopped your legs would get stiff and …”
“you would lose you momentum. It’s the same with faith.”
We hike through life. We breathe in Jesus, His strength to persevere. We stay alert, watching out for enemies. We encourage each other along the way. And we give thanks.
In my sweat-soaked clothes, I prayed for those who want to hike but are unable.
We guessed we were about half way up. Jason suggested I capture the view of our climb.
Not sure if this is true to scale. Felt more like Spiderman making his way up a flat building than this photo shows:
Nonetheless, we took a water break at the plateau.
Seconds after we resumed, Jason whacked his leg.
“Ow, yeah I think I got stung.”
Calm. Breathe. All I could think of the stories his mom told of his being allergic to bees when he was young.
“Watch out there, the bee came out of that log.”
Thank you, Jesus, for the peace not of your forest but of your spirit (John 14:27).
I had tossed a box of bandaids in my backpack, but no ointment.
“What about gum?” I asked.
“Maybe the peppermint will help.”
After chewing a piece or two, Jason pressed the wad into the affected area. We agreed to turn around and head back in case he should have a reaction.
“Sorry our time was cut short.”
My husband who reserves words more than he shares them …
My husband who often focuses on tasks more than interaction …
My husband who carried the same worry as I about needing something more than gum to address this bumble attack …
My husband thought of me and my desire to hike to the top.
Descending, our hearts rose in thanks.
“Thankful it was my leg.”
“Yeah and not your eye like Braedon that time.”
“Glad it was just one bee.”
“Yeah and not a swarm.”
I didn’t want to say out loud until we were out of the woods. In my mind, I was on my knees thanking God it was a bee sting and not a snake bite. (Still working on the fear of running into a snake on a hike.)
Sometimes God will not allow the mountain top experience, not to punish but to teach. I am learning to lean into unmet expectations, trusting Jesus. Even the smallest of things in our lives matter to Him. Finding your keys or cooking a meal or saying hello to a stranger. It ALL matters. When our heart’s desire is to be one with Jesus, we study Him and His relationship with His father to guide our steps. And when we allow God to guide our steps, its all of them including the ones trying to conquer a difficult hike.
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives (Psalm 37:23).
On our ride home, I told Jason this:
“I did not hike to get to the top and take a picture. I hiked to be with you.”
Welcome to everyone here that is a new reader. Thank you to those who have faithfully followed this blog. God leads me to words, stories, poems that give Him glory. I am learning I do not need to know who reads or whom was encouraged. However, there is an opening to support each other in the name of Jesus if you choose to share your thoughts.
You may share your comments here or email me directly at email@example.com
A new poem posted today at https://faithhopeandpoetry.blog called The Firework Burst
I pray you have a wonder-full weekend.