Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Unclear Paths

When we were camping once, I put my baby in my backpack, and headed off for a hike with a friend into the forest. We left in mid afternoon, and told our group we would be back soon. The trail was wide and well marked. We had one peanut butter snack and a bottle of water. Of course you know where this is leading.

We kept taking obvious turns, quite certain we would remember where we had turned when we started back. After about an hour of hiking, we turned around and all those obvious turns were no longer obvious. The cheery bright forest began getting cold, and ominous, and foreboding. Deep dark shadows assumed shapes of bears, and the vines became giant snakes with horrible eyes. Dusk was rapidly settling around us and we had been walking over 2 hours "back" when it had only taken us an hour "out". We stayed on a main path and sang songs to ward off the goblins, and headed in the direction we thought our campground was in.

Always the cool and calm collected one, I suggested to my friend that we begin to run as fast as we could and yell and scream and maybe froth at the mouth. She suggested we remain quietly on the path at a steady pace and hope someone was looking for us. I began writing our eulogies in my head.

"Should we etch our wills on this tree?" I asked, "I want to be sure my diaries are burned."
I keep my diaries, certain that in a hundred years I will be a famous writer, and critical analysis will be made over my prodigy musings at age 10 of how Batman and Robin would get out of the mess on the latest TV episode.
However, it was about that time that I was getting a twig to start scratching out a hole for my grave that we turned a corner, found our original path, and burst back onto the campground as the forest rangers were gathering in the now black night with our worried group to send out a search party.

How much of my life has been like that hike! I start off, brimming with confidence, certain I know the right way, and striding across all turns of life as though I will never get lost. Yet invariably, to the degree of my certitude is often the degree of my missteps, and I end up realizing that I am not nearly the competent guide I thought I was, and humbly must accept that were it not for the restraining and gentle guidance of friends, family, and especially God, I would be digging my grave with a twig.

Numbers 17:12
The Israelites said to Moses, "We will die! We are lost, we are all lost!

1 comment:

  1. You so aptly describe, with your usual wonderful humor, this truth of our journey in life that we can not take alone because we do need help along the way.