We had the most wonderful day on Sunday. When we arrived atop Carvers Gap, we had entered a new world. The moisture in the air had crystallized on the surfaces of every tree, and plant. It was obvious that fierce winds had blown, as the crystals themselves protruded straight out from every plant, in the same direction. The winds had to have been fierce, but the scene was so beautiful now. The sun was glistening off the blanket of white that covered the earth.
So far, this day, has been my favorite day. But this day, also was my worst day. As we were descending from the top of the mountain, back down into the gap, I placed my foot on an unsteady rock, and found myself writhing in pain. A twisted ankle can be the end of the trail for some. It was so painful that I cried my last couple of miles down the trail. I knew that I really had no choice but to keep going, though all I wanted to do was to sit and cry. So many thoughts ran through my head. My tears were not only over the pain that I was experiencing, but also the fact that I knew I was not going to be able to continue on with Ryan and the kids for atleast a few days. I was angry, frustrated, and in intense pain.
Rest. Breathe. Let yourself slow down. Trust. Release.
Rest. We’ve gotten plenty of sleep out here on the trail. Without electricity, hikers tend to find themselves asleep the moment that the sun goes down. Rest, however, is not the same as sleep. Rest has not been a part of this trip thus far, atleast not for me. I am constantly planning, constantly trying to communicate how we are doing with the outside world, constantly checking and rechecking to make certain that everyone has everything that they need, when is there time for rest?
Breathe. The trail is a path cut through the woods. It isn’t going anywhere, yet our plans to conquer it must remain fluid. Plans and expectations must be adjusted to move forward successfully. So take a deep breath, take it all in, and let go of the “ifs” and “whens”.
Let yourself slow down. In the attempt to move quickly, a sacrifice is made. If our goal was to make it to Katahdin in a certain number of days, so much would be lost. There is a saying out here in the trail, “The last one to the top wins.” It means that the person who has taken their time has gained more, experienced more, and has enjoyed all that nature and the trail have to offer. I am learning that it is indeed OK to have alone time in these woods. And suffering the consequences of trying to move too fast… Now that I am away from the family.
Trust. This is an adventure that will never be relived. It is an opportunity that will never come back around. There is so much happening in and around ourselves, and life transformation is happening in front of our very eyes. I need to trust that we will accomplish all that we are to accomplish in whatever amount of time we are out here, as long as the journey is enjoyed, and the time is spent wisely.
Release. I love the verse in Proverbs that states how a man makes his plans, but it is God who orders his steps. In His perfect wisdom and goodness, He is ordering our steps. It is our responsibility to follow them, and trust when we really don’t want to… When it hurts, and when it is hard… It is our responsibility to surrender!
“The fiery furnaces are there by God’s direct permission. It is misleading to imagine that we are developed in spite of our circumstances; we are developed because of them. It is mastery in circumstances that is needed, not mastery over them.” – Oswald Chambers.
I am learning to see beyond the trial, and to the expectation of transformation. The story is just beginning to unfold!