Sometimes being a little too much of an eager beaver is detrimental to your health. To my chagrin, I know this firsthand.
Hiking in high country can take some getting used to, especially if you’re coming from the plains of the Midwest. The memory of that dizzy, gasping for breath, almost-toppled-over experience in the Canadian Rockies will never leave me. (On my honeymoon, no less! And I thought it was because of that handsome gent hiking with me!) I’m happy to report I’ve successfully completed dozens of mountain hikes since then. I’ve learned to slow down and pace myself.
As a result, last week’s hiking excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park were anything but detrimental. They were exhilarating! (Though I still admit to a few bouts of heavy breathing.)
If you’ve ever been on a mountain trail in the early morning, with a blue sky and wind in the pines, you know how it feels to have new life breathed into your soul and I admit, mine needed a little dusting.
Getting up early was the only way to do this particular hike. So up we got. Out into the mountains we trekked. (This is one time I don’t mind getting up before the sun.)
I started with a spring in my step on a smooth gravel path. Then gravel turned lumpy. Lumpy turned bumpy. Bumpy turned rocky. And when in the Rockies, you can expect rocky to take you the rest of the way.
Then came the familiar coaching from behind, “Remember to pace yourself!”
I wanted to retort, “Of course!”, but I was sucking air . . . as quietly as I knew how.
I slowed down and became keenly aware how this trail had been wisely prepared for those that come to get away from life’s cares and obstacles. How necessary that someone cut a trail for us seasonal hikers—rocks skillfully positioned, logs strategically placed, stumps for stability. All signs that someone had prepared a way. A reminder that none of us really get where we are on our own.
Then came a picture worth a thousand words: A cut through a fallen ponderosa pine.
At one time that pine lay smack dab over the trail, a heavy hurdle blocking a hiker’s hopes to the summit. But the middle had been cut out. Cleared away. Gone. Not a small feat, I’m sure. I walked right on through. Didn’t miss a step. Onward!
Made me think: What do I do when faced with obstacles in my life? Abandon ship? Find another way? Cut through and stay the course?
No doubt, I’ve done all three at one time or another. Each has its place, but sometimes I can move too quickly (remember . . . I know how to hyperventilate); I might abandon ship or try another way before I work to stay the course.
After all, cutting through and staying the course has its own difficulties, doesn’t it? Doubts come—Is it worth it? Fears finagle in—What if . . . ? Then there’s that eager-beaver who just plows ahead without much thought to anything else and starts sucking air. (Now who would do that?)
Ponderosas are huge! I’m pretty sure it took more than chop-chop here, and a chop-chop there, with a quick kick to the side to clear the way.
Thank you! to whomever hacked through that pine. Thanks for cutting through, clearing the trail, and keeping me on course.
I framed my picture worth a thousand words and set it on my desk. The next time I’m faced with an obstacle, I plan to work first at staying the course . . . and pace myself as I do. (I may need a little help though.)
According to Drs. Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., “We can give our kids experiences that help produce either a “Yes Brain” mindset that allows them to be receptive, open, curious, and creative in the face of life’s problems, or a “No Brain” mindset that leaves them reactive, shut down, rigid, and fragile.” They assert that reading with children helps build this “Yes Brain” mindset. Look here to read more and for some questions to ask your child as you read together.
There are lots of great books to help grow your little ones to face the hurdles that come. One way to build this resilience is to read about real people that faced obstacles in their life and talk about them. You’ll find many biographies in children’s literature today. After a search at your library or on Amazon, it will be hard to decide what to read first!
Here are just a few (a very, very few) of my favorites . . .
This Scholastic Helen Keller biography is a great independent read for kids in grades 2-4. Make it a family read-aloud for all ages. There are more here to choose from!
The award winning, When Marian Sang, is illustrated by Caldecott medalist, Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck). Marian began singing with her church choir at the age of 6. She faced a lifetime of obstacles but with faith, hard work and a mother’s encouragement, she finally realized her dream of singing with the Metropolitan Opera.
Thank you, Mr. Falker, is Patricia Polacco’s autobiography of her struggle in learning to read. Polacco shares her story of resilience and will in the face of humiliation and fear, while paying special tribute to her 5th grade teacher.
Hero Tales, is an illustrated treasury of fifteen real life stories. It provides biographical information and exciting anecdotal life experiences of men and women of faith. Good for ages 9-12.
More Christian biographies here.
But now, for a little reprieve from the cares of the world . . .