mud, sweat and tears

Today church was brunch with a friend and a young lady. Then a walk in the wilderness. Well, not quite the wilderness but as close as I can reasonably get. A gravel road. A hiking trail. Mud. Trees. A creek to cross.

So church was community then alone time. God in various aspects. In the breaking of bread and in creation. My theology is my favorite theology. And I find my seeking takes me to an alone place. Walking. Exposure. Deep breaths. Beauty. In the most natural sense. I am at my best and yet my worst. No makeup. An old sweatshirt. Yet enlivened. Alert. Ready to explore.

I came across a creek. On the trail I chose. I crossed it but could have turned back, repeating my steps back to my starting point. I’d already seen the arch. The high point of the trail. But I chose to step across. It wasn’t difficult. And very low risk. What’s the worst that could happen? A wet foot. There were ample rocks to step on. The trail wound around and I came to the creek again. And once again I crossed. Then. Yes, a third time. This time. The crossing looked a bit more difficult. A greater risk of stepping in the water. And as life would have it. I did. I ended up stepping into the water at one point. I didn’t lose my footing. I didn’t fall in. But my shoe was drenched. And I had some thoughts. About the trail. And life.

There are signs painted on trees to show the trail. Which way to go. And the trail led across the creek. Which is interesting because my thoughts as I hiked were related. Directional thoughts, if you will. And I realized the easiest trail is not always the one we’re to travel.

Friday night I attended a concert. A band I have enjoyed for years. Joined by a woman I’d never heard of. But she sang a song she wrote. About doing hard things. And it hit me. Quietly and reverently as opposed to a slap in the face. And the message replayed again on the Gray’s Arch Trail in the Red River Gorge. Just relax and do the hard thing. Which strangely came as a relief. Both on Friday and on Sunday. Because running from it never seemed quite right. Some of us choose the struggle, I suppose. Which I’ve written about before. But won’t today.

Squishy mud sounds. A lunch packed and eaten at a picnic table. I reviewed highlighted sections of a Nouwen book. And considered other aspects. Decisions. I had a good week. What made it good? Mindfulness. Preparedness. Planning. Carrying through with my plans. Not holding back. Being me. Not to please others but because I love others.

Water. I chose water as one of my words for 2019. For a variety of reasons. Generally I choose words like grace. But this year. A different take. It rained like crazy Saturday night. And I had many rainy evening thoughts. Including will it be too muddy to hike on Sunday. The rain though. Made the creek run high. Made my crossing more of a challenge. Yet added to the beauty. The beauty of the struggle. The beauty of the coming spring. A cycle I have grown tired of fighting against.

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