This was my first weekend of hiking— or more appropriately—walking in the outdoors. I’m not sure if what I did really qualifies as a hike, but I was on a Great Falls, VA path; outside, climbing on rocks, and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.
The first day I walked with my daughter, who carried her handicap dog in a back pack. It was a challenge for her and a joy to watch. The little guy barked his heart out in the shear excitement of being outside with other people and their dogs. It was a beautiful autumn day and the park was full of people from all walks of life, enjoying the majesty of the falls.
Day Two, my daughter and I went back on our own. It was a rainy day and the park was quiet and nearly deserted. We walked a little further and I ventured out on the rocks for a different view. I had knee surgery a few years back and my challenge was to push myself past my fears. Even though we had been there the day before, it seemed like a different place.
As I was sitting in the quiet, I thought about how different these experiences were for me and for each person visiting the park. Each walker had a different purpose for their visit. Each person visiting had something particular that they took away with them. For some it was absorbing the beauty, for some it was capturing the beauty to share with others later, and for some it was just a time to walk, talk, and laugh.
It made me think about life in general. I believe we are made in the image of God and each of us is uniquely made with our own gifts, assets, and even struggles. Our lives are shaped by our experiences. Because of those differing life events; we encounter and have a distinct response to our common environment. We each have the ability to decide what to make of those experiences.
I have a choice. I can sit around and feel sorry for myself because life didn’t go like I thought it would. I can complain that I am bored and that I don’t have a ‘special’ someone with whom to share my life. I can focus on all the negatives – that is pretty easy for most of us to do!
Or I can get out and experience life more fully by looking around and breathing in God’s gift of living and experiencing the wonder of this magnificent planet. One walk at a time, I am stepping into a new life. I am stepping past the gloom and replacing it with new joy. Today I feel lighter, brighter, and more hopeful. And that is a great takeaway from a few hours of almost hiking!
I encourage you to step out and risk a new life for yourself. You are so worth it!!