Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Trail

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go......”

Recently, I took some time off. In a move that was totally uncharacteristic of me, I took off on my own – not even sure which day I’d be back or where I was spending my last night. On the drive back that last day, I stopped at McGee Creek State Park in Oklahoma to do some hiking. I texted Carl to let him what I was planning, knowing that sometimes cell coverage can be spotty out on the trail. When I got to the park, I pulled into the visitor center (closed on Sundays) and headed to the box marked “park maps” outside the door. I was disappointed to see there were no trails marked on the map, but I decided to drive around and at least enjoy the lake. I parked near the lake and walked along the shore. I found a suitable rock and sat for awhile with my feet in the cool water -- just enjoying the peace and quiet of a basically deserted park.

A little later, I headed back to the truck to drive around the rest of the park. I took a turn towards the lake huts just to check them out for future reference and at the end of the road I saw a sign marking a trailhead. I couldn’t make out the trail just looking out from the truck, though, so I parked and walked up to the sign. I still wasn’t positive I could see the trail, but I took what looked like might’ve been a trail up the hillside. Once I was up the hill just a little way, the trail was more clear and I felt comfortable taking off to follow it. At times I was a little nervous about losing the trail – a few months ago we’d missed a trail at Inks Lake and ended up circling the same loop something like 2-3 times trying to find the branch out! And now... I was alone... and breaking every single rule about hiking that I knew! I’d taken absolutely no provisions – not even water. I was hiking in an area I was totally unfamiliar with (and I realized after I was a good bit into it that for all I knew there could’ve been mountain lion sightings in the area – I mean, we’ve had them near my home and my parent’s home in Indiana this year, after all!). No one knew exactly where I was (Carl knew the name of the park, but had no clue I would’ve taken a little used lane down to the lake huts). And... did I mention I was alone? So with all that in the back of my mind, anytime the trail went around a corner or became a little harder to make out, I turned and looked back to make sure I could easily recognize the trail behind me. Each time I checked, it seemed very clear. No problem. Eventually, though, I came to an area where the trail became harder to distinguish and I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. I turned around and headed back.

Funny thing on the way back, though. Several times I started to get a little concerned as I looked ahead and lost sight of the trail. I’d start to panic just a little... but then I’d get right up to the point where I couldn’t see the trail anymore and realize it just went around a bend. I could still make it out with no problem. I just had to be right there before I could see it. I had to keep walking even when I couldn’t see where the trail went... and only then would the trail be revealed.

Sigh.... Yup. Life metaphor hammering me. Walking without a visible trail in sight is not always a pleasant experience for someone who likes to know where she’s going. And yet... God has a habit of doing that very thing to us:

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country,
your people and your father’s household
to the land I will show you. – Genesis 12:1

Uh huh.... Just gotta keep walking....