"At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors."
(Proverbs 5:11-13, NIV)
I am 'thee' world's best driver..... Okay, let me start over. I am one of the top five world's best drivers.....
Um, can I say I am in the top 100???? As a matter of fact, I am not even in the conversation and we'll just leave it at that.
It is here that I commend those drivers out on the road who make a living driving. Over the road truckers are highly trained and tested to be at the top of their game while navigating the highways. Do they always get it right 100% of the time? No. Still in all my travels, I admire them for their attention to the task. They are usually checking weather forecasts, present road conditions and possible closures. They have to do these things. Their livelihood depends upon it. In many cases they are looking out for automobile drivers who may not understand the mechanics and working of an 18 wheeled rig. They are professionals. They have to be.
Yesterday, I was enjoying a day off. I usually like to be out in nature, in the woods, on some trail leading somewhere. Yesterday was no different apart from threatening skies, light drizzle, and cooler temps. I ventured to Duncannon, PA and parked at the foot of the Appalachian Trail (AT) head at the Halifax exit of Route 322. I donned my warm clothing, my backpack loaded with survival gear, and copious amounts of food and drink.
About a half mile into the hike, I bumped into three fellows who were section hiking the trail We exchanged pleasantries and talked about walking sticks and such. One fellow had a stick he has used for 18 years. He proudly proclaimed it had over 1,100 miles of hiking on it. It showed. It had lots of scars and scratches to prove it. We parted company. They headed down the mountain; I headed up it. The drizzle began to come more frequently and the cloud cover grew darker. I pressed on. I rationalized that I am a tough guy and a little rain isn't going to kill me. I took my glasses off and hung them on my inside shirt collar.
Another half mile up the mountain I came across a through hiker on the AT. He was adjusting things in his ample backpack and sported a long beard. We talked about his hike and the brooding weather. He said, "Well, the rain is supposed to get quite bad this afternoon. I am heading to Duncannon to stay the night in a motel and wait out the storm." His destination was just south of Roanoke VA!!! In my head, I scoffed at the idea of heavy rain. Then again, I had not checked any weather forecasts. The hiker, whose trail name is "Forager" had checked the forecast and he knew with much certainty what was coming. Through (Thru) hiking the AT requires one to be highly trained, in fairly good shape, and be sensitive to weather patterns. Their hiking safety depends upon it. They check topography maps and gain latest weather info to plan their next leg of the journey.
Long story short, we parted company. I continued the climb. My smugness about a little rain and getting wet was spewing all over my face. Have you ever experienced God's hand of correction in your life? Every now and then, when I trust my own intellect, strength, and decision making, something occurs to re-calibrate my internal GPS to align with God's will and not my own. Yesterday it occurred. AGAIN! At the crest, I stopped to gain shelter under a rock overhang. I ate lunch and had a drink. The rain came down harder.
Finishing this task, I headed up the trail, now stretching out across the mountaintop. Within fifty yards of hiking I changed my mind about continuing onward. I pivoted on my feet and headed back down the mountain; a little chagrined and hoping to not meet my previous hiking friends. Alas, at the truck I arrived drenched, cold, and tired. Do you realize how backpacks and clothing get heavier when they are wet?
PS: I lost my glasses on the trail on the way down and had to go back up the mountain about a mile before finding them lying at the side of the path. I was even more wet and cold upon arriving back at the truck a second time..... "If Only I Had Known...."
A Musing Pastor"