Monday, September 28, 2009
The Hike & The Truth
There we were, hiking up a mountain in Lake Placid. What a beautiful day it was. Though cool, it was the perfect temperature for outdoor exercise. We walked the incline until we reached the Lake Placid Lean-to. A sturdy log lean-to meant for over-night campers on their way up (or down) the mountain made for a nice spot for the love of my life and I to stop and rest a bit. We continued on for a while longer following moose tracks along the trail. Then, we came to the part of the hike where it was about to turn into an actual "climbing" experience. Steep and rocky, this was the terrain the rest of the way up to the summit. I climbed for a few minutes, telling myself that I can do it.
Truth is, I could climb UP that steep mountain. The problem was, I can go down a steep hill about as gracefully as a boulder in the midst of an avalanche. If I broke my leg on my descent, it would be impossible for Eric to carry me down the rest of the way. There was no cell phone reception, it was getting towards evening, and it was the Adirondacks, for heaven's sake. I was sure to be dinner for a bear!
I stopped and Eric wanted to go on for a little while. Sitting there by myself watching closely for any bear that might come bounding down the mountainside, I wanted to be braver than I was. I lasted a whole 30 seconds after Eric got out of my sight. I then called out for him and asked him to return to me, which he was kind to do! We began our hike down the mountain, but I was feeling kind of silly.
Throughout the hike, I wanted to show Eric that I could easily keep up with him. It frustrated me that my lack of coordination, strength, and skill, along with my fear, hindered me and him from climbing higher. I really meditated on that on the way down the mountain. It dawned on me that I had, possibly along with other Christian women, adopted the feminist idea that I can and SHOULD be able to do anything a man does and just as well. I should be able to hike a steep mountain with my husband and finish. I should be in good enough shape to easily maneuver myself around the rocks without breaking a sweat. I shouldn't think about wild-life, dark, and cold in the mountains.
But, I am a woman. I realized that God has never asked me to accomplish the same physical feats as my husband. He has never asked me to lift heavy objects, run marathons, or climb mountains. He asks strength of me in other areas. Consistency in raising my children, flexibility in the changes life brings, and loving and supporting my husband at all times are all areas in which great strength is required. I exercise physically several times a week, but my character strength-training cannot miss a day. I ought not feel pressure to keep up physically with my husband. I ought to feel challenged to build my character in the ways God desires.
Proverbs 31 tells us that the wise woman prepares her household for cold weather and other elements. We aren't to fret, but be cautious and aware. Up in the mountain, it was 4:30/5:00 in the afternoon and we had another hour and half hike from the point where we stopped. There IS wild-life in the mountains and it DOES get colder as the sun sets. Women, myself included, need to make sure we don't live in constant paranoia so that when we are truly being cautious, we aren't looked upon as weak or nervous. Praise the Lord, Eric knew I wasn't panicing, that I was looking at the reality of the situation. This is why he readily came back from his desired hike instead of feeling like a defeated man having to calm his over-distressed, paranoid wife (though, I confess, I often can be exactly that).
Realizing that I wasn't supposed to be Eric, but compliment him lifted the burden that I carried up the mountain off my shoulders on the way down. So, it was a wonderful hike. Eye-opening for me. Exilerating. Fun. Refreshing.
And, my legs paid for it for 2 days.