Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Path of Least Resistance

Last year over Labor Day Weekend, my husband Dave and I, along with our son Andrew, were staying in our family cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The cabin is in Spearfish Canyon and the walls of the canyon face the front and the back of it. Dave and Andrew love to go for long hikes up to the rim rock where you can look for miles at the beautiful landscape of the Black Hills. They had found another trail and begged me to go on it with them. I wasn’t so sure about it but decided that I would go. Now I have to let it be known that the older I get the more afraid of heights I am. So this wasn’t going to be an easy task for me but I said a prayer and headed up the path.

The first few yards weren’t bad. We were talking and sharing observations with each other and I have to admit it was fun. The trail began to get a little more rugged and the climb steep. My breath became more labored but manageable. We had been climbing for quite a while when we stopped and my husband said turn around and look at the view. BIG MISTAKE!!! The only thing I saw was how far up the canyon we had climbed and how far down to the bottom we could fall. The hike suddenly became a path of resistance. I no longer wanted to talk, observe or view the scenery. I went into a panic and anxiety filled me. I became frozen. Dave and Andrew continued to talk about how high we had come, how beautiful it was and how fresh the air smelled as I sat completely still on a boulder. The only thought that was going through my mind was how in the world I was going to go back down that trail and would it really be that much of a problem if a helicopter could just hover over head, drop a basket that I could climb into and then take me back to the cabin?

Dave interrupted my thoughts by telling me it was time to continue up. I believe I gave him a look that said it all. There was no way I was going anywhere and especially going up that trail. It was over and I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. He started giving me the “pep talk” filled with encouraging words. I wasn’t listening and then Andrew joined in by trying to tell me that it wasn’t that far to go to the top. Tears filled my eyes and I silently prayed to God to just lift me off the boulder and place my feet on the ground below. I begged him for a miracle so that I wouldn’t have to face climbing down.

Dave soon realized that I was serious and told me that he would help me by being right in front of me and that we would take it very slow. We started down and I held on to him tightly. Each step felt like it was the last and at times I had to remind myself to breathe. When we finally reached the part of the path where it was easy I felt my body begin to shake. I had been so scared that I had tensed up every muscle.

Dave and Andrew love the adventure, exhilaration and challenge that they face when hiking and I hope they never lose those feelings.

I on the other hand, enjoy walking the path of least resistance. I don’t have to struggle to communicate with the person I am walking with. My words are not labored, my voice is not strained and my heart beats a steady thump-thump. The path is tranquil, serene and smooth. There are no logs to climb over, boulders to scale or tree branches swishing back into my face.

This is also the path that I enjoy the most when walking with God. I’ve walked down into those deep valleys with him and up those mountain trails. Those are the times that I don’t think twice about asking for his help. God has held my hand, pushed me up, carried me down and given me a pep talk filled with encouraging words every time. But the path that I really enjoy and sometimes forget that he is on with me is the path of least resistance. The path where there are no deep valleys or mountain top climbs. Sometimes I am walking on the path looking straight ahead and out of the corner of my eye I see his gentle face and his hand reaching for mine. “I forgot you were here”, I say as I place my hand into his. He turns his face to mine and says, “Child, I am always here, always near, never more than a heartbeat away. Take my hand and tell me about your day.”


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