Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Mantra and My Man

Trail to Beech Mountain Summit
Acadia National Park, Maine
September 2013
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1–2
Both hubby and I love the outdoors. Especially mountains, forests, streams, waterfalls, and wildlife. So camping and hiking have become activities we enjoy together during these empty nest years, although DH has more experience in walking in the woods and is more conditioned and stronger than I.
Over the past two years, we’ve trekked in the Finger Lakes region of New York, the Adirondacks, Maine, and North Carolina, in addition to trails here on the Huey homestead.
The trails at Taughannock Falls State Park were easy and short. At Fort Ticonderoga we walked 853 steep feet up Mount Defiance, where the elevation rose a foot and a half with each step we took. We stopped 11 times so I could catch my breath, Dean waiting patiently beside me.
Rocks, roots, and boulders marked the trails in Acadia National Park, which were longer and more challenging than the trails at Taughannock. “I can do this” became my mantra when the trail was rough, rocky, or steep, and when my body, mind, and spirit screamed with fatigue.
My mantra served me well when we hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trails there weren’t as rocky or as steep as those in Acadia, but they were long and steep enough to have me stopping to catch my breath every 50 steps, with Dean waiting beside me. I so appreciated his patience. He could have forged on ahead, at a much faster pace, but instead he waited until I was ready to move on and often took my backpack. He gave a whole new perspective to the term “long suffering.”
During the fourth mile of a 5-mile hike, my feet were dragging, my shoulders sagging, and my spirit flagging. “I can do this,” I muttered under my breath with every step. Dean slowed his pace to match mine and told me how well I’d done that day. I think he would have hauled me over his shoulder the rest of the way if I had asked.
This year we’re staying close to home. The Allegheny National Forest beckons us. The trails will still be challenging, but I’ll have my mantra and my man to see me through.
Hiking is a lot like life. You start out “slow and easy,” thinking you’re prepared, but you’re not. You meet with challenges, some so great you don’t think you can go on. You can’t plop down on the side of the trail and quit. Going back takes just as much as going forward. So after a brief rest stop, you push on. “I can do this,” you say.
Somewhere along the way, you realize you’re not alone. Someone stronger and wiser and more experienced is beside you. That’s when your mantra becomes “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
With hiking and with life, I know I’ll stay the course—with my mantra and my Man, who waits patiently until I’m ready for the next step, carries my burden when it gets too heavy, and whispers tender words of encouragement.
Thank you, Lord, for walking beside me in this hike called life. Someday I will say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Amen.

More tea: Read Psalm 121

Dean and me
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Bryson, NC)
October 2014


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1 comment:

  1. When we are weak, He is strong and we can do all things. Enjoyed your post.