Have you ever taken a really long hike? Packed the water bottles and protein bars. Do you pack the camera and binoculars? Every ounce of weight – could be essential – or put a strain on your back. Leaving the parking lot – thinking of the trip ahead, sometimes can be daunting.
You may notice, that the visitor’s centers, parking areas, picnic tables, book stores, and coffee shops are all at the bottom of the hill. Many people mill about deciding which direction they will go today. There are plenty of people ready to give advice or share their story. Each person set up with different gear. Each one tells you a different essential item for your pack. You start to wonder if you have what it takes to reach the top. Or maybe you become resolved that you planned it out well.
Your body will project itself to the top, tired, weak, dehydrated, and you’ll start to feel that in the first leg. The mind will tell you – I can’t do it. That first 15 minutes is the time to tell ‘the voice’ to take it’s own hike.
While you’re at the bottom, your feet walk along the shoreline. Sand, rocks, pebbles. You may gaze at the mighty rocks, the cliffs, the old growth Sitka Spruce and Doug Firs. You spot a few people on the trail ahead of you – and marvel – at what it will feel like from that height. The joy of wondering what you will see on the trail urges you on. As you journey – you stop and hear testimony of what others have seen. Some have turned back, unprepared for the hike; maybe they didn’t allow enough time. Some have turned with regret, some with relief. You know the ones that made it to the top. The wide smiles, red cheeks, empty water bottles, quick stories, and encouragement that it is worth it to make it al the way to the top.
Once you’ve reached the view point – the resting point, it is a great time to take a break, have your snack, and take some photos of where you’ve been. The shore that looked so big and overwhelming, the surf, looks flat small, tiny splashes from this point. The tall trees begin to look tiny from this perspective. And the only essential you really needed – was the heart and mind set to get there.
Now that you can see into the distance, there are fewer people around to offer advice. You may meet only 2-3 families at the top of the hill. You can see out to the horizon, the ribbon of road cut off from view, and you can see how far the shoreline stretches. Someone has gone before you. Idea people, engineers, work crews – have cleared a path, set down stone, created bridges and guard rails. They’ve put up road signs. It is alluring – and romantic – to travel down Highway 101 twisting around the Pacific Ocean. Could there be a better ride? The lure to return to the main road and continue the journey is strong. You wont’ get lost. There will be plenty of service stations, eateries, markets and resting places.
Looking to the East – the hills are a thick forest. Waiting to be explored. Tiny gravel forestry roads wind in circles for miles. With a little planning, BLM Arial Maps, and maybe even a guide – you can explore some of the richest old growth forests known to man.
Looking to the west – and the vast amount of open unexplored space is breath taking. The ocean merges with the horizon in a slight fuzzy fog, no clear line can be seen today – north, south and west, all directions – blue. Clean. Open. An empty slate full of possibilities. A sail, a comfortable ship – and a journey may begin.
As you may have guessed, I’ve become thoughtful, mindful, of entering this 9th grade year. Thinking about “High School” was something I put off. Focusing so intently at the beginning of the journey – so much study- worry – investment of time and energy – I am sure got us to this place. And now – the possibilities seem vast and endless. Both exhilarating – and a bit daunting.
Since we have climbed this far – We will continue on. The gear that has gotten us to this point – will now be our life lines into the future.
Faith – in the knowledge that God will direct our paths. That we have the Holy Spirit for guidance. I know He has a plan for the boys- and I will pray and seek and walk through the path he sets forth. Maybe we will clear our own new trail, join others on a wider trail, or possibly hit the highway in a big RV. Seeking, Listening, Obedient to His Direction.
The Word – has been my refuge. When I sit, and open it, and hear His voice, that living Word, bread to my body, nourishment, giving me strength to walk forward. Encouragement to move forward. It is the direct line, when feelings or fears bend the path.
Prayer – even if unspoken, utterances, groaning – and the long drawn out middle of the night conversations. I am going to try to be better at sharing these exchanges this year with you. As the need comes, even if in the back of my mind, yet unspoken, and the phone rings, the email blinks, the FB message number pops up – and the provision is given before the worry has had time to set in.
My Warrior Mentors – Of those who have gone before, their bright glowing faces descending the other side of the mountain, the weary and tired yet triumphant. I will listen to their stories. I wills stop and hear and learn. I will share their testimony with others – receiving and giving the hope and peace that it can be done.
My Sweet New Explorers – I will openly share where we have been. I will encourage them to blaze their own trail that makes sense for their family. I will be willing to share resources and come along side. Encouraging them. Being their cheerleader. Praying for their journey that seems so steep at the beginning.
Resources and the Community- This is both the easiest and hardest part of all. Thanks to my Warrior Mentors of the 1980’s and 90’s, the resources available for the 2012-2013 year are so wide and vast – that can actually be a stumbling block to those starting out. The pressure of choosing the right math program. The right Grammar Program. What will help each child on the path? I have found but one perfect program for curriculum and resources – Time. 20 minutes a day. Disciplined. Joyful. Expecting curiosity. Allowing for a bunny trail. Encouraging questions. A home filled with resources, plugged into a community filled with people who want to share their passions. The best packaged curriculum will only make your back pack weigh a ton – if it is a burden to be dragged alone the trail that you’d rather explore with just a baggie of jerky and water bottle. The key ingredient to any successful hike – is movement. Going. By bike or car or trolley or boot – ya have to move. Set aside anything that will hinder or slow you down. But expect to explore every single day. Intentionally moving forward.
This morning, the Blue Moon begins its descent into the Pacific Ocean. The nights will be dark and still. The crazy tides that come will calm down. My thoughts stir of the new month, the new moon, the new academic year. I have a High Schooler. I think back on the High School Teachers and Administration that I adored. The experiences I cherish. The memories of friends from yester year. I know that Nate will be building on these last years of childhood – a Young Man already – and be ready to shoot off into any direction that he desires.
Thanks for sitting with me as I ponder this morning. I sat down to write an entirely different post. Maybe tomorrow. I love you all my readers. I’m glad to see you every day on Facebook – I enjoy your comments here and there. I’m glad to be on this journey of adventure together with you.