We went hiking this weekend. I was excited, since it was my fourth time around on the path. My second time leading someone blindfolded. I’m not very good at hiking. This year, especially, the incline had me incredibly out of breath. Before we left, I communicated to the leader that I wasn’t feeling well. My stomach was causing me pain, along with my hip and my ankle. However, I made it to the top, and the view was breathtaking.
The way back was rough. Last year, I was the last one up the hill. The previous time, I was last. I didn’t want to be last again, but I remember that final stretch to be horrible. Something found in my nightmares. A terrible upward segment to the end.
This year was no different. It was awful. I lost my partner only five minutes on the return journey. I was clutching my water bottle like a lifeline, and only allowing myself to drink when I absolutely needed it. A number of people passed me.
And finally, when the back of the line had reached me, and I pushed myself harder, I found myself surrounded by a small trio of friends. One girl in my level, and two others I’d had as campers.
My friend engaged me in conversation. I shared my testimony first, and then we discussed college and our futures. The conversation kept my mind off of my pain, and distracted me from what felt like a never-ending walk.
As we drew closer to the end, she and I decided to pretend the woods were actually Narnia. At the time when the White Witch had just begun to lose her powers, and the snow had melted, and the beginning of spring was peeking through blossoms. As we passed some white flowers, we imagined they were snow blanketing the ground.
I don’t know if I would have finished without her. Looking back, it was her talking to me that kept me going, and I so appreciate her willingness to walk with me.