Ok, true confession. I know it stresses some of you out that I hike by myself. Particularly on new trails, I haven’t explored. Sooooo, I feel like you need to know I did it again today. And look! It turned out ok! I am still here to tell you about it! No bear got me. No bogey man got me. And yes, I did get a little turned around. Ok, so a lot. But as a result, I saw so many more beautiful creations and I could hear the trees singing to me for a little bit longer.
There were several reasons I wanted to get away this weekend. My word for the year is Explore. I am a much happier and content person the more I am outside. This is a good thing for everyone. Even though I am a borderline introvert I really don’t like being by myself for long stretches of time at home. Yes, go with it, it makes sense to me that I would try out a new national park by myself in another state because I don’t want to be alone. I just needed to get some new breathing space. I also saw the weather and just couldn’t do Snowmeggedon this year! Sorry St. Louis peeps!
The main reason I needed to new breathing space is on this weekend in 2017 I got really lost. Our first Sparrow, Ali Renee Brown was murdered in a triple homicide and her little boy had survived the shooting. There were lots of other dynamics but that’s one of the pillars in the road I can look back on and say that is a very distinct change in the trajectory of my life. It wrecked me. It still wrecks me. This past year my exit off of Highway 94 was named in memory of her. There is not a day that goes by I don’t think about her and her son. They still haven’t found her murderer. Somebody has to know something but they haven’t done the right thing and come forward.
The last two years have been a process of me getting unlost. Regaining purpose. Figuring out what I am supposed to be when I grow up. A lot of people didn’t even know I was wandering around trying to find true north. But lots and lots of lovely people serendipitously showed up on the trail. Most knew to just let me keep putting one foot in front of the other. Others offered symbolic cairns to show me how far I had come. Some of us bumped off of each other on the trail. Some offered subsistence. Others waited at the trailhead for me to arrive.
Last year, this weekend I made my first trip back to Guatemala after Alex’s adoption was completed. I met his beautiful family and his courageous mother. This year on this monumental weekend I am exploring Hot Spring National Park and detoxing in the mineral baths. Who knows what next year’s January adventure will be. I think the important thing for me is the knowledge that no matter what comes, tragedy or celebration, each is an important trail for me to be on during that time. I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting the journey that God has me on.
So if you see me wandering around a bit maybe let me be for a time, maybe check in and see I need some bearings, maybe walk a bit on the trail with me, but definitely meet me at the end to see how far I have come. There is an old adage that says “not all who wander are lost.” I would add not all who are lost need to be found right away. There are some are some beautiful creations they might miss along the way if they are found too soon.