Encouragement life lessons Me+Mine

Paths

August 25, 2010
Every year, at least once a year, David and I take a little trip away just for the two of us.  Last year it was Cancun, this year since it’s averaging 157 degrees in Dallas, we came to Vail, CO.  As I write this, I am wearing long sleeves and looking at the most beautiful view of the mountains. And I’m not gloating at all.

Here is the thing about Coloradans (is that how you say that?) – they don’t sit still.  I knew this would not be the kind of vacation where you lay around getting a tan, sipping umbrella-clad colorful drinks.  Even knowing that, I was still not adequately prepared.  We arrived on Sunday and spent a big part of the afternoon strolling through the village, shopping at little stores.  Now that kind of walk, I can handle!  Yesterday, we stepped it up a notch and went zip-lining.  Traveling thousands of feet above a ravine at 30 mph attached to a zip line only by a harness and pulley was exciting but not overly taxing.  Feeling good about ourselves, we decided that today would be the day we went for it.  Today, we would be real outdoor adventurers.  We’d go hiking.  Now I know what you’re thinking.  Regina?  Hiking?  If I’m totally honest, I was thinking that myself but this is something I really wanted to do.  I wanted to be able to say I’d done it Friends of ours had just gone hiking with their 3-year-old. I can’t get shown up by a toddler.

So a little after 9am, David and I loaded up a bag with Gatorade and water and headed for the trail.  At first the name of the trail was cute – Berry Picker.  I figured we’d see pretty flowers and berries to take pictures of.  By about halfway, I was daring someone to say something cute.  I may have even loudly declared, “I’ll show you what you can pick, Berry.”  You see, my friends, we did not choose to do the leisurely stroll around the base of the mountain.  No, the two kids from the flat plains of Texas decided it would be a great idea to take the intermediate climbing path that ends over 4.5 miles at the top of the mountain.  For over 2 hours, we hiked, stopped to catch our breath, and hiked some more.  I literally thought I might die a few times and wondered how long it would take someone to come find us.  But alas, the sharp drop-offs and thin air didn’t win.  Just after 11am, we made it.  

As we sat down for a snack at “The Eagle’s Nest,” I started reflecting on our journey.  There were times that the path we walked was clearly marked with signs and arrows.  There were other times when we had to trust that we were on the right track even though it felt like we were walking in the wrong direction.  Some parts of the path were so narrow and curvy that there was barely room to get through.  Surrounded by trees that seemed to touch the clouds, it was dark and cold.  We couldn’t see what came next, and it took all our energy to climb the steep slopes without falling backwards or losing footing.  But then we’d come to an opening and step out into the sunshine.  We would find a part of the trail where the path was obvious and the views were spectacular.  In the end, we could see how each part of the journey was necessary.  The wooded areas kept us from walking unprotected in the hot sun.  The open sections gave us perspective to see how far we’d come and what was ahead when we reached our goal.

And when we reached the top, what they say is true – all the pain and panting was worth the experience of standing at the top.  Much in life is the same. Whether it’s marriage, career, raising kids or our faith, they can all be compared to that trail on the side of the mountain.  There are curvy, steep places where you can’t see the point and think you can’t go on.  And there are open places where God gives you the gift of perspective.  In the end, each part of the journey is necessary.  And in the end, if you don’t give up, all the pain and panting is worth it.

After reflecting on the journey, we headed to receive our reward – a free gondola ride down.  But did we receive that wonderful gift?  Did the overzealous kids from the plains of Texas ride down?  Of course not.  We figured going down had to be easier than going up, so we hiked back down. While I’m enjoying the beautiful weather this morning, I’m also experiencing pain in my knees like I’ve never felt before. 

The take away from today’s activity is this – life is like a path, so keep walking even when it hurts. And going down is not easier – while it’s faster, the momentum and height makes it even more dangerous than going up. So keep climbing. You’ll make it.


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  • TOLIVER FAMILY August 25, 2010 at 3:14 am

    hey girlie! hope you’re having fun! now go rest those knees