In anticipation of a hike we’re leading in a couple weeks for Sienna and her classmates, our family took a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day hike up Black Mountain. This mountain is right near our home and the school, but we’ve never hiked it! Monday was the day. The teachers recommended we take the Nighthawk Trail up to the summit, which is about 2 miles each day. Easy peasy, we thought. We brought Claira along and she was excited to get out of the house and stretch her legs!
Well, this route turned out to be steep and rocky! The first pitch of the trail was particularly steep and the kids expressed their dismay. Claira bounded up the path like a little Billy goat! She provided some comic relief and joy as the day grew hotter and the rocky trail grew tedious. Sienna wanted to turn around after less than a mile. “Come on, you can do it!” I encouraged, “Think how proud you’ll be when you reach the top!” We talked about perseverance as a virtue and value.
At one point, she tried to call my bluff and retreated down the hill as the rest of us kept climbing. Teo was torn and started to slow down. “Mom, she’s really not turning around!” he called to me. Fortunately, a sweet golden retriever named Ninja and his owner stopped to allow Claira and Ninja to greet one another. Dennis petted Ninja (dogs and babies love this guy!) for several minutes, giving Sienna and Mateo the opportunity to slowly catch up to us.
What a great reminder not to worry and try to micro-manage a family outing! Everything works out when you let people have their authentic experience and express themselves.
We made it to the top and the attitudes of our family of hikers improved tremendously! We took pictures and enjoyed the amazing view on a beautiful January day. As we retraced our steps down the mountain, we stopped at another lookout spot where Claira stood on a rock and surveyed the landscape. We laughed as we noted that she looked like Simba on Pride Rock and roared, like in the closing scenes of The Lion King. So silly!
Going downhill in steep, rocky terrain actually requires more concentration than going uphill. Especially if, like Sienna and me, you opt to wear Keds and worn running shoes, respectfully. The guys were much more surefooted with their hiking boots. We all slid a few times, which gives you such a burst of adrenaline! I focused on keeping my balance and making confident steps and prayed: Holy Spirit, please guide my steps. I knew there was a Bible verse about the Lord directing our steps, but didn’t know the specific reference.
During my run yesterday afternoon, it was incredibly windy! A few times I had to go off the paved pathway to go around other pedestrians and there was debris blowing in my face. The same prayer popped into my mind: Holy Spirit, please guide my steps. This simple mantra brought peace to my heart and calmed my mind.
Today I opened a daily devotional book and turned to January 20th. The Bible verse quoted was from Psalm 37, verse 23: The steps of a man are directed and established of the Lord, when he delights in his way… So, now I know.
Allowing God to guide my steps is such a reassuring place to live, both in the moments of potential danger and in the everyday moments of life.