A Great Adventure

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Last weekend I hung out with some friends hiking up Mt. Rainier. I hadn’t been on a hike since last summer and I really wasn’t ready for the adventure that came with this one. It was probably the most difficult hike I’ve ever been on, climbing much higher than a thousand feet, but it was totally worth it. With hiking boots in hand, I joined my friends, catching up on life during our car ride towards the mountain.

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What a treat for me to be encouraged by our conversation, meeting new friends from their church and enjoying the beauty of the day. The mountain flowers were such a beautiful sight to see.

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For me, going up isn’t as difficult as coming down, but I was ready to embrace this adventure.

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The climb eventually had me beat. At one point I sat down because I kept thinking to myself

“How would I make it down over rocks and snow?”

This was definitely not what I had in mind when I had decided to come on the hike. I struggled a lot with whether to keep going and even attempted to try to climb up some rocks on my own, but by myself, I couldn’t. I didn’t have it in me. The belief that I could keep going was fading fast. It wasn’t until someone came back for me and encouraged me to try once more that I decided to keep going.

I was able to continue hiking up the mountain, through snow and over rocks. Someone else in the group offered their poles, a tremendous support going up and then coming down as well. Not only did I have the help of friends, but I was equipped with the right gear.

Life can be the same you know. I often think that my culture has influenced me to live independently for the sole purpose of not becoming a burden to anyone. But part of the adventure is living in dependence, not only on God, a loving Father who cares for us, His kids, who wants to help us journey through all parts of life, but with each other as well. Had I not chosen to trust that my friend’s heart towards me was for my good, I would have missed out on the glory of these beautiful sights:

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Here I am near the highest point we went, maybe a mile and a half from the trail head. I was tired and worn, but able to keep going.

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I can’t tell you how painful it was to hike down. At times it was so steep and I felt like my feet were going to fall off or that my knees would give out from under me. Sometimes life presents itself like this.

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The path is steep and full of turns. We don’t always see what’s coming at us. And then we get distracted following others instead of walking together, doing life in the company of those who see us as we are, treasures.

I keep thinking about these words from an old Steven Curtis Chapman song:

Saddle up your horses
We’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild, blue yonder
Of God’s amazing grace
Let’s follow our Leader
Into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other
This is the great adventure

I think there are many souls in our world who are overwhelmed at living in this place, at this time in history. They don’t know how important they are right now, acting out their role in the universe around them. The thought of taking one more step when the pain feels so incredibly unbearable just stops them, dead in their tracks.

Yet when someone comes along to take their hand, hold them up, carry their burden, the ability to keep going grows deeper inside us weary pilgrims.

Sometimes I find myself there, helping encourage the ones who can’t see how they’re gonna make. I don’t know that my words are as helpful as just being present for them. Sometimes I’m the one who wonders how I will take the next step. And I am definitely guilt of giving in and giving up on myself when it seems so difficult to keep going.

But how grateful I am for those who encouraged and won’t let me do life alone.

Proverbs 18:24
...but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Who are those people you call friend?
Who are those who need to be reminded that they matter to the world around them?

I may not know all of these people well, but I do know that they cared about me, about my well-being. They took time to learn about me this weekend, offering acceptance towards me. And I, them.

These folks aren’t the only ones who make my heart so thankful that we don’t have to do life alone. There is always someone available to help. Sometimes it comes in unexpected and even in ways that are not easy to receive, but there is ALWAYS someone. My hope for you is the same for myself, that our eyes will be opened to see who those people are and then embrace relationship with them.

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