Our family went camping with friends. And by camping I really mean “glamping”. Say what you will, we left our house and spent more time outside than usual. The outdoors is a perfect place for reflections.
Part of this time we spent on a short hike. As I was snapping pictures along the trail we were following, I couldn’t help but think how appropriate is the analogy of life as a journey. In this case, life as a hike. Here are 9 reflections that came out of our adventure.
1. Adventure with a friend.
Life is enriched by our friends! As the two youngest members of our group raced ahead, I was reminded of the encouragement and moral support we receive from our friends. There are times to be alone, yes, but perhaps the “do not neglect to gather yourselves together” applies to more than just going to church. As we adventure together we learn to support one another and enjoy God’s good gifts of nature together. We praise God simply by enjoying his creation.
2. Follow a good leader.
There is nothing like watching your son follow his father. Especially if his father is a good man, a good leader. As my son followed my husband down the trail I held the moment close to my heart and hugged it. On this journey of life be careful whom you follow. The best leader, the best father, is God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
3. Stop and ponder. Savor some reflections.
Stop and think about it. Selah! Ponder the water, the trees, the sounds of nature, or nothing in particular. As you do you are giving your mind the opportunity for peace, creativity, and faith. Stop for the stillness. It is there, just waiting for you.
4. Hold on to a strong hand.
When the way is rough, when the way is dark, when the way is unknown hold on to a strong hand. As my son reached for his father’s hand, so we too, should reach out to the strong hand of our heavenly Father. There is no safer hand to hold.
5. Choose your path wisely.
Even if you choose wisely, it doesn’t mean that your path will be easy. If you don’t have a map, pay attention to signs that the people that went before you had the good sense to post. If it says steep trail ahead, believe it! They post those signs especially for people like me who go from no exercise to a heart pounding vertical ascension that I would not have chosen if given the choice. But I had a choice, back where the sign said “STEEP TRAIL AHEAD”. It didn’t seem too bad as we kept looking ahead and so we kept going ahead. When we decided to turn back, wasn’t it me that gaily followed my young energetic son on the loop that we had avoided on the way down? The best part was when the older generation caught up with the teenagers and little kids and he said quite matter-of-factly, “Oh, good, you made it. Let’s go.” The ones that did not need a rest break had had one and were ready to go by the time the people who actually NEEDED a rest break caught up to them. Had we made a different choice we may have avoided some unnecessary hardships.
6. Learn to lead.
Some are natural-born leaders, some never attempt to lead. Others learn to lead. Even those who are called natural-born leaders need to learn a thing or two along the way. Learn from great leaders. My son surprised and impresses me as he exhibited some safari guide skills he’s picked up from the nature shows he has watched. I took this picture on the loop he led us on (the really steep one mentioned above) while he was telling us that we were now in an area where we might be hunted. Thanks for the warning! That’s a good leader!
7. Warn others of danger.
Seriously, warning others of dangerous situations is a good public service. If there is a fire, flood, wild animal, dangerous person, or any other type of clear and present danger a warning is in order. How about a warning that hell is real and our souls are eternal? In this picture my son is warning us that “off the path is death”. Hmmm. Let’s ponder that one for a minute. I’ll let you draw the parallels.
8. Don’t turn around when you’re near the end.
There are times to turn around. Like when you know you’re going the wrong way. But do you know where we were when we decided to turn around on our hike? Almost at the end. Had we kept going we would have walked onto the parking lot where our vehicles were waiting for us. Instead, we had a more difficult climb ahead. Had we been wise enough to take a map at the beginning of our journey we would have saved ourselves some trouble. Perhaps these reflections will be helpful on our next hike.
9. Look for flowers along the way.
Yes, please do! Stop and smell the roses, too! It’s good for your soul! It’s food for reflections. Our hike ended with flowers. Beautiful, happy, sunflowers. There may not always be flowers on our path, but there is the hope of them. And sometimes, hope is enough. If you have faith, hope is enough.