Trust, Faith, and Community

The topic of hiking came up within a group of friends recently, and I could easily say that one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever experienced was with my high school youth group. (Yes, we’re taking a little stroll to the past… just go with me, here.) It should also be noted that the word “hike” is being used very loosely here because we were actually climbing a mountain in Colorado. Each person on the trip was carrying a pack that weighed roughly 50-60lbs on his or her back, and we shared the load of food, cooking supplies, clothes, tents, etc. 

So… yeah, it was a week-long “hike.” 

One of the strongest memories I have from that time involves me literally staring at my feet, watching them take one step after another as I tried to stay on the path. To an observer on the outside, it probably looked like I was obsessed with my boots or searching the ground for something super important. 

The honest truth is that I was intensely willing my feet with my mind and eyeballs to keep moving forward even though every other inch of my body was screaming at them to stop. As long as there was another pair of boots within decent proximity to mine, I knew I was doing ok.

Here’s the thing about hiking in a group - if one person stops, everyone has to stop. There was a leader at the front of our single-file line who knew exactly where we were going, and he just kept walking towards our next destination. If you didn’t want to get left behind or cause lots of grumbling and complaining (we just want to get there!), you kept walking, too.

Two things that I’m taking away from this memory today:

  1. I was blindly following someone (whom I had just met) into the woods (which I’d never been in before) with a group of people I loved dearly. I trusted the adults of our group who said this was a good and safe idea, and they trusted the guides to get us where we needed to go. We also trusted that someone had considered the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved, even though we wouldn’t have a clue what to do if someone fell and broke their leg in the middle of our “hike.” Trust and faith can get you to new, exciting places if you just lean in.
  2. Because there were other people who were counting on me and encouraging me, I literally climbed a freaking mountain. Is this something I would ever attempt or accomplish on my own? HECK NO. Most of the brave, scary things that I’ve tackled in my life can be connected with others who walked with me on that crazy journey. Community matters, and we can’t do it all on our own.

What brave and scary things have you survived, and who was cheering you on?

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