TAKE A HIKE

Thirty Days of Thanks and Giving

DAY 13: TAKE A HIKE

I’ve owned two pairs of hiking boots in my life. That’s 56 years, two pairs of boots. I owned the first pair for about 15 years. I’ve owned the second pair for just as many years. Neither of them wore out. 

I’m not a hiker. First of all, I don’t really like the discomforts of the great outdoors. Heat, cold, insects, sunburn, dirt, rain… not a fan. I like the comforts of the indoors. Secondly, and probably more significantly, I’m clumsy. I don’t hike or bike or camp. I avoid walking up, down, or over uneven terrain because I’m a big klutz. I use hiking boots for two things: roadside photo shoots and bonfires. I like balance when I walk through long grass or near flames. Walk a mile on my unstable ankles and you’ll understand.

When I was in my mid twenties, I got the hair brained idea to hike the Grand Canyon. That’s when I bought hiking boots number one. I spent the Arkansas summer walking up and down a very steep hill every day for an hour in preparation. I borrowed a backpack and a bunch of necessities and headed West. I did it. I hiked into the Grand Canyon and camped at the bottom on Day One. I hiked half way to the top and camped on Day Two. I hiked/crawled to the top on Day Three. You have no idea how proud I am of that… way up toward the top of my coolest accomplishments list.

I remember stepping across the line to begin my descent down the South Kaibab Trail and realizing there was no turning back… I felt empowered and terrified. I took it slow and smart for the seven mile hike. After many water stops and photo ops, I reached the campground in the famous Phantom Ranch. I set up camp and rubbed my feet for a very long time. I had arrived.

The Grand Canyon is spectacular. Gazing across its vastness silenced me into a breathtaking awareness of how very small we are. The roses and golds and deep reds are the Canyon’s calling card. It’s hot and dry and the scenery emphasizes that. The view from the top could not be more of a contrast to the view from the bottom.

When I woke at the bottom of the canyon, I could not believe the spectrum of color I saw. The morning reveals deep blue and crystal clear rapids of the gentle stream fed from the ferocious Colorado River. The sun peeks through bright green trees and cacti, and its rays tickle the steel gray rock as they float down the chasm from the terracotta striations. I was as awestruck looking up as I had been the day before when I was looking down.

I’m thankful for my hiking boots reminding me of my Grand Canyon experience. I’m thankful for my Grand Canyon perspective. The Grand Canyon’s big but our God is bigger. The river that carved the canyon is mighty, but our God is mightier. The sun that trickles up and down the canyon walls is gentle, but God’s love is gentler. The colors are brilliant, but God’s promise is omniscient. 

If you’re standing on the rim and feeling small, remember you have a Big Big God. If you’re in the valley and feeling tired, look up and soak in His love. He is big, He is mighty, His love is gentle, His promise is powerful.

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