Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
|Vacation in Acadia National Park in Maine|
For anyone who knows me, the picture above is a head scratcher -- for I am famously afraid of heights. I mean palm-sweating, nearly unable to speak afraid. Thus I can barely ski anymore because of my fear of getting stranded on the lift. Which means I do not climb ladders and will never bungee jump, nor parachute, nor even go up in a nice tranquil hot air balloon at sunrise over the plains of Africa.
So why did I hike up the Beehive Trail last week at Maine's gorgeous Acadia National Park with my wife Leslie? It's not like I didn't research the hike. I went online and did hear that one should stay away if one is afraid of heights, but it was "doable" and six year old reportedly easily did the hike. I told myself: I could do this. Yet I walked right by this sign at the base of the climb... Bad first move.
When we ask for signs from God, we don't always expect to see visual signs... (Note to self: read warning signs next time!)
So Leslie and I made our way up the mini-mountain -- only 520 feet high but straight up. At one point we did say to ourselves that this was a foolish idea: how could we reach the top with our nerves so frayed? We were actually near the top -- about 50 feet away -- when we paused and questioned ourselves. And then an angel appeared in the form of a hiking park ranger. She saw our misgivings, yet also our determination and hope to find a way to reach the top. She warned us of the dangers (i.e. asked us if we saw the above sign!) and gave us a choice: head back down or move forward. She also told us that if we wanted to keep going that, "I'll go with you." THE sign!
She was the encouragement we needed, but also the assurance and the company that sealed the deal. When she learned of what I did for my job/career/vocation, we joked that a few sermons would come out the day and I'm sure she's right.
For now, this is what I learned:
1. Obstacles, and fear, are real.
2. It's hard to know when it's time to pause, re-assess and perhaps head home.
3. Sometimes we only need a little encouragement, especially when we are so close to our goal.
4. It sure helps if someone walks with us and we are not alone.
5. Psalm 121 is true: I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where is my help to come? My help comes from...
6. An angel in the form of a park ranger.
7. The view is pretty nice from "up there."