Saturday, January 21, 2012

a preparation for the seventh day: the next rock

In a great show of being a good wife and mom this summer, I put on hiking shoes and fill a CamelBak full of ice water.  We leave home and drive a few hours through Glacier National Park.  I am quite optimistic and cheerful as we find a parking place near Two Medicine Lake and gather our hiking supplies from the trunk.  A beautiful summer day and my family all together.  I am happy.

For the first hour.

A trail we have never been on before.  A cool breeze.  Almost alone on the mountain.  We stop to take a picture of some dead but beautifully twisted old trees.  We talk and laugh our way up the narrow trail.

The second hour is more challenging.  Taking a few more breaks.  Reaching for the ice water more often.  The trail climbs 2400 vertical feet in 3.1 miles. 

Not much longer and I’m worn out.  The trail seems straight up.  Not.  Gonna.  Make it.

But Matt turns around and says, “Look alive, people.”  And down the trail bops a young mom carrying a baby in a backpack.  Not long after that we move aside to allow two elderly people pass us coming down the trail.

And we pretend we’re not tired as they pass by.  

As we continue I lose hope.  Reaching Scenic Point seemed such a good idea when we were in the parking lot.  Now my legs are like jelly, and Matt, the best hiking coach ever, starts to say from ahead of us, “Let’s make it to that rock and then we’ll stop for a second.”  Instead of fighting for the peak, I start struggling for the next 10 yards.  “Okay, now that rock.  Let’s make it to that next rock.”

None of us has been on this trail before.  We know the trail is 3.1 miles, but we don’t know where we are on the trail.  No markings.  No compassionate sign that says, “Keep going book nerd, you’re only a half mile from the top!”  I finally stop in tears and inside want to beg to turn back.  I am totally exhausted.  But I look at my husband, and for his sake I keep going toward the peak.  Head down.  One step after the other.

When we make it to Scenic Point the view is breathtaking.  And worth it.  So worth it.

The seventh day of every week is given to us as the next rock.  A stopping point on the trail.  A drink of water.  A protein bar.  Rest for the legs.  Catching the breath.

Those of us who follow Christ know a Scenic Point is coming.  But we don’t know where we are on the trail.  And because we don’t know we need to rest.  And look up.  And remember there is a destination. 

“For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord.”  Exodus 31:15. 

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