There are a few rules of etiquette that I have learned for hiking. For instance, hikers going uphill have the right of way, if you hear someone on your tail, step to the side and let them by, keep your music confined to your headphones and it's always a good thing to acknowledge those you pass.
Not everyone follows these unwritten rules, but when they do, it makes for a great experience.
I was making my way up the Piestewa Peak Summit trail in Phoenix yesterday morning. For those of you that are not familiar with this area, it is a nice 1.2 mile, 1,200 ft climb to the top. As I hiked, I was reminded that not everyone is aware of hiker etiquette, as evidenced by the fact that I found myself giving the right away to hikers that had already made the climb and were on there way down with no intention of stopping for those of us making our way up, panting and dripping with sweat.
Others, though, kindly stepped to the side as I made great strides and stretches over the uphill rocks. For that, I was grateful and squeezed out a smile in the midst of my exhaustion.
There were moments when I thought, "I have gone far enough, I should just turn back now" but, the fighter in me doesn't like to quit until I make it to the top (which last week almost got me into some trouble). After making the 1,200 ft ascent, I was able to rest and take in the view.
There is that exhilarating feeling when you make it to the top, when you reach your goal and have survived to conquer your mountain. For me, I think about the fact that 1.5 years ago, I could barely make it to the top and if I did, it took me twice as long with many stops along the way. This day, though, being in better shape and living a healthier lifestyle, I pushed through without stopping. I made it and I made it well.
After a nice break on top of the summit, I made my way, with the grace of gravity pulling me back down to where I started. I smiled at those making there way up and I stepped to the side to give them the right away as they struggled upward. I allowed those who were descending faster than me the opportunity to go on by and at times I was afforded the same courtesy, as those who were going a bit slower than me, let me pass.
And then it got me thinking (as hiking always does) about the difficulties in life that we have, the mountains that we climb and the "etiquette of struggling" that we so easily forget.
There are times when I, one who has been through the fire, see others going through the same battles I once went through and wonder why they are not conquering it as quickly as I did. There are times when I know people are struggling and I fail to give them the "right of way" in their pain and I expect them to move out of my way and "get over it" so that I can continue living my life. There are times when people are making uphill strides in their situations and I forget to acknowledge them.
There are times when I, because I already made it to the top of a certain mountain, forget what the struggle was like to get to a place where you have a birds eye view and greater perspective.
There are so many times that I am simply the worst hiker in the world.
It is good to be reminded that we all hike (through life) at different paces, we all have mountains to climb and battles to win. When I am more conscious of those around me, it makes this hike of life a little more doable, a little less difficult and a lot more encouraging for everyone.
I can't climb someone else's mountain for them, but I can step out of the way and not be a stumbling block in their journey. I can reach out a hand and give encouragement. I can allow them to feel their pain so they can move to a position where they can see the view of the joy to come.
I pray that we all will be a bit of the grace that gravity brings in someone else's life as they are struggling uphill.
Let's go hiking! I love you in the Lord!
We are now on the fourth and final week of our journey with Mary. Feel free to catch up by reading the previous three entries, Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3. They are pretty quick reads.
Last week we were given the encouragement and reminder that we are not alone in the tasks that God has for us. He is with us, Father , Son and Spirit. That's good news.
This week we wrap up with verse 38. Just as a reminder, let's re-read the entire passage.
"In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
We are on week three of our journey with Mary. Feel free to catch up by reading the previous two entries, Part 1 & Part 2. They are pretty quick reads.
We left off seeing Mary, after the angel surprised her and told her that she was going to give birth to our King, curious as to how the birth would happen since she was a virgin... seems rational to me. We pick up at verse 35 with the angel's response.
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
Aside from the overwhelmingly redemptive love story pictured here; the Holy Spirit upon her, the Most High overshadowing her and the son of God being born to her is this, the truth that for all this to happen and to be accomplished it took, not just the Holy Spirit, not just the Father, not just Jesus. It was our Triune God, Father Son and Holy Spirit as One, and all separate, at the same time that accomplished one of the most loving acts ever recorded....God leaving His throne to become one of us, to save us.
This is the powerful truth of our Triune God in action.
When God has a task for us, a call that seems too marvelous for mere mortals to accomplish, it's because it is. It is too much for us to handle on our own, but God, in His power doesn't send us out alone. Just as He did in days of old, our Father, by the Power of His Holy Spirit works in us because of the blood of Jesus. One God!
So be encouraged today. You are not alone. If God is for us, WHO can be against us? No One and No Thing!
Mary understood this. Let us follow her example and embrace the mighty work that God is waiting to do in us, through us and in spite of us. To God be the glory!
I love you in the Lord and I am looking forward to wrapping up this mini series with you next week!
Feel free to leave your thoughts and insights in the comment section.
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.