En route to Nicaragua I’ve had a few hours of silence to reflect on life. And musing about the unconventional path I’ve been walking along stirred up memories from my childhood.
Its early in the morning and someone is shaking me awake. “We’re going on an adventure hike. Get dressed and come downstairs.”
We gather in the backyard, grab walking sticks, and set off into the great unknown.
We live in predictable suburbia where streets look more like the grid on my graph paper than the undulations of trails in the natural landscape, but on this adventure hike, you’d never know there were any rigid lines at all.
Dad bypasses the street blocks and suddenly we’re on a grand detour through the wilderness, venturing through culverts below the highways and weaving amongst tombstones in cemeteries or stumbling over wooden crates dying in an abandoned building.
At times I close my eyes or abandon the walking stick so I can hold more tightly to Dad’s hand, frightened by the dark, damp, and unfamiliar spaces. But I’m never in any real danger and by the time we arrive back at the house, I’m exhilarated. Exhausted, but exhilarated.
The spontaneity of Dad’s adventure hikes used to thrill me. Age has tempered that thrill of risk and uncertainty with a strong desire for structure and routine. I’d prefer to map out my own plans.
But no matter how hard I try to control it, life seldom colors within the lines of my own pretty pictures.
Right now, life looks more like a scribble than a neat and tidy picture. I can’t make out the final image.
And since I don’t know the details of what life will look like next year, my life feels like its in-flux and in-between.
I’m trying to rewind the clock far enough to recall those adventure hikes of my childhood. To remember what it felt like to follow with reckless abandon because I trusted Dad to lead me.
I’m not sure if Dad was trying to impress a lesson upon me but I’m struck by this thought:
God’s leading me on an adventure hike right now. I may not know what the next step is and I may need to hold on to His hand a bit more tightly, but what if I chose to release my control and find joy in the uncertainty?