We filled our hydration packs with water, made sandwiches on sourdough bread, tossed in tangerines and trail mix, and grabbed layers of outer wear. It had been too long since we’d hiked in the wilderness.
The trail Dan chose followed Paulina Creek uphill past tumbles of waterfalls, a wooden bridge or two, and this four-legged handsome guy who was in training for backpacking.
There are things I want to accomplish on any given day. And yes, this hike was on my to-do list. And yes, I caught myself thinking ahead to what I wanted to get done when we returned home.
Which means I wasn’t fully engaged in the moment on this stretch of cascading waters and evergreen trees.
Not everyone has accessibility to hike in the beauty of nature that Dan and I have become accustomed to.
Not everyone has the health or energy or full mobility that we enjoy.
Not everyone has the luxury of freedom and care-free-ness to get outdoors on a leisurely trek (think: Ukrainians).
The thing is, I don’t want to take any of this for granted—especially the company of this good man—because there are no guarantees of how much time we have together. Dan and I know this from experience, having lost our first spouses to cancer.
And so I slowed down and enjoyed the dappled warmth of the sunshine, and the roar of water rushing over boulders, and the smell of pine needles on sun-baked dirt.
I paid attention to the moment, and counted my blessings, and remembered how God brought Dan into my life. “It was on trails like this that we grew to love each other,” I said out loud and he grinned.
This from an author unknown:
Out there, unplugged, beauty all around, we can see who we are … our strength, our humanity, our need for quiet calm. Hiking reminds us that life is best lived one foot in front of the other.
If present circumstances don’t permit you to put one foot in front of the other, then perhaps sitting on a porch swing, an Adirondack chair, or a park bench would work just as well in allowing a pause to count the blessings of our ordinary, everyday, rich lives that we sometimes take for granted.
It was Jesus who said:
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5
Lysa TerKeurst measured Christ’s words in this way:
Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life, like abiding, delighting, and dwelling—all words that require us to trust Him with our place and our pace.
What would it look like to slow your pace, to lean daily into Jesus, to practice living in the present moment as we count all the ways God loves us?
Speaking from experience, it would look like peace and joy and deep contentment.