I have always loved to hike! I hiked when I was at my heaviest weight and I’ll hike at my lowest weight – It is certainly easier with 100 pounds shed, but regardless of my size a hike is a great representation of life. Things in life usually start out as new and exciting. There is usually a plan and it is fun to see exactly how it will go and how things will work out. This is just like a canyon I recently hiked with my kiddos. We knew there was a beautiful view at the top and we were motivated to see it. We were looking forward to our picnic overlooking the river. As we began, all of our feet moved swiftly and happily along, singing and laughter could be heard, and spirits were high.
About 20 minutes in, a bit of grumbling could be heard. Others were quiet. We all just wanted to be to the top! As I kept my troops motivated and hopeful, I reminded them that we would be there soon. I am sure some of them doubted my words. The excitement turned to boredom, irritation, impatience, and doubt in a matter of one mile. There was still 3 miles to go, but I knew that once we got to the top, the pack on my back had delicious sandwiches, fruit, and water to nourish our body and minds. We could see the hill rising and we knew we were almost there. Things always get easier when you see the light at the end of the tunnel – we all kept our eyes focused on the prize and attitudes began to shine again. When we could see the edge of the river, we knew it was merely moments until we made it. Feet began moving swiftly again and joyful noises could soon be heard. We found a shady spot to rest and eat.
The breeze was rustling in the trees, bellies were being filled, thirst was being quenched, souls were being replenished and this Mama was happy. We all laughed as we took some beautiful pictures and talked about our plan to float down the river this summer. Life was grand! Until I said it was time to head back down. This was the halfway point and coming back is always easier, right?!? NOPE! “How far is it? How long will it take? I’m tired. I’m hot. I want to be home.” I had to dig deep in the patience department. I reminded them that we would be back down soon, get into our air conditioned car, and then get home.
At a certain point, I could see a tiny white speck in a faraway parking lot – I knew it was our car, but it certainly was tiny. I debated whether or not I should show the kids. I personally felt like I could see the end – that was where I wanted to be and it was in sight! I asked them all to stop and see if they could see it. My older kids seemed to take comfort in knowing they could see the end. My younger kids were so troubled that it seemed SO far away and the car looked SO tiny. As we continued along, we could periodically see the car and I would show them it was getting bigger. When they could see progress, their attitudes were a little brighter. Then would come tears, just wanting for it to be over. The fun part was done, but now we had to still be walking in the canyon to get back to our car and eventually home. Isn’t that just like life? We often just want the fun, good, and wonderful parts without having to deal with getting to and from – we want just the peaks, not the valleys.
Well, eventually the trail got shorter, the car got bigger and spirits began to soar. We made it. We were merely steps away and one of my daughters said, “I can’t do it, it’s still a million steps.” I took her hand and said, “Let’s count.” With each step, her burden lifted and it turned out to be 100 steps exactly! When she was focused on the whole amount, it was a challenge – too much to handle, but when she looked at one step at a time, it was much easier! The hike was over…. A beautiful time together laughing, arguing, struggling, complaining, admiring, and accomplishing!
We had the full view and perspective behind us. It was over and we could see the hills, the valleys, the challenges, the doubt, the rocky path, the beautiful view, the accomplishment, and the confidence that we made it!
As we hike through life, there are so many ups and downs.
Moments where we tredge ahead with excitement and anticipation.
Moments that turn to frustration when things aren’t moving fast enough or exactly how we had planned.
Moments where we are impatient, especially if the event took longer than our expectations.
Moments where we hold on for dear life as we are put to the test.
Moments of fear as we wonder if we are strong enough to make it through the challenge. Moments of doubt where we wonder how God is going to get us out of the canyon or through the rocky trail.
Moments of insecurity as we wonder if we chose the right path.
Moments where we simply have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
And finally, moments where we see it all come together.
The goal is to forge ahead in life knowing that by putting one foot in front of the other, we will get to the places we need to go, we will see the things we need to see, we will do the things we need to do, and we will walk the steps we need to walk. By looking ahead, we can remind ourselves that we will reach the end, overcome the challenges, and grow through each experience. I will keep my eyes fixed ahead and walk the path set before me!