Hiking to the Clouds

Hiking and I do not have a positive history. The first hike I faced was my Level One year in the 4.12 Program (see “Camp”), and I was blindfolded, being led through the woods by an upper level, over rocks and fallen trees. I didn’t break any bones or score any concussions during that trip, but I got another opportunity to do so this past weekend, when the 4.12 members went on another “trust hike”.

I was a leftover, as useless as week-old liver, due to how I had been feeling. I was unsure if I would be able to climb up the mountain, so I tagged along without a partner, as the caboose of the trust train. Three different pairs rotated as the back of the line, until two boys settled as the permanent end.

I watched these two, as the guide spoke direction and the sightless bumped into branches, rocks, and ferns along the path. Each mistake was met with, “I’m so sorry!” and returned with, “It’s okay.” With that, they continued on. Every small accomplishment–stepping over a rock, avoiding a tree, not falling off a cliff–was met by encouraging praise. Even when the pairs ahead of them disappeared out of sight, and almost out of earshot, they marched on.

When we had finally arrived at the fantastic view of God’s creation, all the levels spread out with their partners and talked about what they had learned while hiking together. Without an official partner, I sat by myself on a little stony hill, reflecting. In all honesty, I don’t think I could have learned more about trust that day, even if I had been blindfolded and walked into a limb or two. Just watching the pair in front of me demonstrated trust, and is an image that will stick with me for a long time.

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