More About: The Walk

From the chapter, “Perseverance.”

In September, as we sat with a group of our hiking friends at the Hurd Brook Shelter, a few miles before our climactic climb up Mt. Katahdin, we all began to reminisce about our respective journeys thus far. Around a campfire, everyone expressed the bittersweet emotions they were feeling over the forthcoming ascent of Mt. Katahdin. Their sincerity flowed forth with a clarity and honesty that brought us all even closer together as a “trail family.” During those conversations, the subject of getting lost or traveling the wrong direction suddenly came up and “Sumo” began to expound upon his experience going around one of the many lakes that adorn the mountaintops in Maine. He spoke of reaching an intersection on the trail, near the lake’s edge, where he saw no white blazes. What he did see though, going around one side of the lake, was a trail made quite distinct by the multitude of muddy footprints stretching as far as the eye could see. Believing that if that many hikers had taken this route before him, he could set out confident he was going the right way. It was not until sometime later that he began to see blue blazes indicating he was on a side-trail that had left the A.T. He told of how he decided to continue anyway, hoping this blue-blaze trail would reunite with the A.T. on the far side of the lake, which thankfully it did. He considered himself fortunate to have found his way back to the correct trail, but freely admitted to the frustration of having wasted a great deal of time and energy going the wrong way. And what of the wonders he missed by taking the wrong path? In retrospect, he realized that simply because so many others took a certain path did not mean it was the right path. In life as on the trail, one needs to be following the blazes laid out before them. Simply because so many others have gone a certain way does not mean it is the correct way.

Life’s journey is also filled with unexpected trials and rewards, wrong turns and miscues, pain and joy, surprises and, yes, even the mundane. Though our goal of reaching Mt. Katahdin was quite clear, life’s goals are often nebulous—open to reinterpretation, revision, refinement, development, and metamorphosis. Whatever original life goals we set for ourselves, those goals invariably fall victim to circumstance, chance, destiny, knowledge gained, understanding acquired, and a maturation of our personalities. Life becomes a trail with infinite detours and ubiquitous intersections. Without a sense of direction, or the guiding wisdom of one who has already traveled that trail, the journey of life can leave you wandering far from what you set out to accomplish. Without the knowledge and understanding of what is the “right path,” the temptation to take a seemingly more direct, or easier, route can leave you totally lost and in need of rescue. What you generally find is that the easy way is seldom the right way.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” - Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

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Reviews

“…I found myself writing in the margins notes from my own pilgrimage as a Christian…I found myself thinking about Bunyan’s characters in Pilgrim’s Progress…The Native American quotes were evenly distributed and never so “mystical or spiritual” that Christ was lost...they added to the simplicity of the profound lessons learned…I highly recommend it… keen insight into dealing with the rat-race we call life…we can all learn from their lessons—both spiritual and physical…”   Pastor Terry Delaney, http://www.faithfulnews.com

“…will make you laugh, cry, reflect on your own mistakes, and how you can better relate to their faith journey…a wonderful book of how our own stories are a part of God's.” Pastor Gerrard Fess, Church of Christ, Hagerstown, MD

“…an insightful book…inspires the reader…I found a trail of tales and challenges, bits of wisdom, guiding scripture and devotionals that stopped me in my tracks and made me evaluate where I am in my walk.” Nick Melnick, Worship Leader and Hiker