I am SO SORE and STIFF!
Our family hiked up to see some amazing waterfalls but the trail was the muddiest, slipperiest, rockiest, loggiest (logs all along the trail to help you navigate the muddy trail), and rainiest hike I have ever experienced. I was amazed at the difficulty that just adding water can bring to one trail.
Just under 4 years ago, Paul and I took Curly Cook on a “kiddo date” to this very same location. The trail was easy enough for a 6 year old to navigate, so we thought that this trail would be a perfect “quick” hike for our family to squeeze-in the day before Homeschool started. But the difference in seasons on this trail was incredible!!
Even crossing this bridge proved to be challenging, not only because it seemed a bit unsafe, but because the metal and wooden slats were slippery to walk across. This trail made me think a lot about life. When we completed this trail with Curly Cook 4 years ago, yes, the trail was difficult but completely do-able. The trail was dry and the hardest part was just navigating all the rocks and logs along the way. But add some water and OH BOY is the trail SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than before.
Life is just like the seasons of the earth (I know, totally cliche). The same trail can be so different whether the weather is: wet, dry, frozen, humid/hot, or a perfect temperature for you but not for those on the trail with you. Life is so crazy and messy, and sometimes more than we feel we can bare. Yet, it is in the enduring of the trail that our true strength emerges.
Our goal yesterday was to go on a hike together as a family, and because we kept to our goal and endured what the trail presented us, we also got to see some AMAZING waterfalls! The water was SO COLD, but it actually made the air feel crisp and fresh; a tremendous help to our tired minds and bodies.
The rewards in life may seem few and far between, but look around, look who is with you! Are you ever truly alone on the trail of life? We are not just coincidentally bumping into each other. I truly believe that we are surrounded by EXACTLY whom we need, and who needs us. One of my favorite parts of this hike was being able to use my strength to help others endure the trail. We would come to a particularly challenging spot on the trail, and we would stop, assess the difficulty level, and then work together to find the safest, and cleanest, way to keep on going.
My other favorite part of the trail was finding beauty all along the way. Like the vibrant color found in this beautiful plant.
Or GingerSnap, stopping to ask if we could try to take a picture of the magnificently strong, yet deadly, spider web, next to the delicacy of this life giving flower. It was in taking time to enjoy the trail that made the journey so sweet. For there were definitely times when we all wondered if we were ever going to make it back home, due to some feeling that others were being too slow, or some even feeling that they couldn’t possibly make it all the way back to the car. Long-term goals (i.e. – eternal perspective) is so very important my friends! So very, very important!
But we made it! And ALL together!
And along the way of completing our goal, we got to see things we never could have known existed, unless we had first chosen to hike this trail together. That is what I believe family is for! Family is a safe place to lay our heads when our burdens are too heavy, an understanding shoulder to cry on – who knows with all their hearts that you can do it, and a place where we can just be ourselves and still be loved anyway. But most of all, family can be a sacred place where we can share our hearts and minds and gain that tender feeling that God is ever so near. I believe that there are no coincidences; just happy joy along the trails of life.
By the way, our missionary wrote. Elder Whitchurch is safe and sound in Corrientes, Argentina and is excited to begin serving with his new “gringo” mission companion, Elder Smith.
Today was a great day!