Hurry Up and Slow Down


Our last full day involved hiking, some biking, some swimming, and a LOT of sweating! After waking to only mildly uncomfortable temperatures and thinking that we might be able to enjoy the weather, we found in only the first two hours of the day the temperature climbing over 20 degrees. Oh well, nothing we can’t solve by telling each other to “go jump in a lake.”

We started the day with a hike around Conservation Island. This small island sits in the southern half of the Promised Land Lake and is comprised heavily of Fern, Pine trees, and Rhododendron, which to our surprise were still blooming!

I am the type of person that when I have a destination or goal in mind I am fully focused on reaching the end point. In the case of a hiking trip that means that as soon as we get started I have nothing else in mind but the completion of, or conquering, the trail and getting to where we are going. I’d like to blame this on years of backpacking, where after typically hiking for an entire day you experience some elation after finally reaching your camping site, usually with very sore feet and a hungry belly. Sadly though I have to realize that my hurry up and get to the end mentality isn’t as simple as to many trips out on the Appalachian trail. I find the same mentality in so many areas of my life, from trying to find the ‘quick’ way to complete a work related task to sometimes when I sit down and read the Word (just got to make it to the end of the chapter).

I don’t know what was different this time, perhaps it was the joy both Sam and Ava had as we explored various side trails, or maybe it was the fact that the day wasn’t driven by the clock, but as we found ourself standing in the same spot ‘investigating’ plants, critters, and anything else we could find for way longer then I felt we should it just hit me, THIS is what this hike was all about. I gave up my drive to keep moving at the best pace possible and just slowed down! How much more rewarding and fulfilling this little hike turned out to be as I watched my kids explore rock piles and Ava find and dissect an Owl pellet. Bottom line, giving up ‘my plans and schedule’ allowed the experience to be so much more rewarding.

We’ve all heard a saying along the lines of

it’s not the destination, but the journey…

I’ve been struck a number of times recently how as Christians the destination really is the journey (at least so far as how we live our lives). Will we ever achieve the goal of becoming Christ like in this life time? No, of course not. For one, that reminds us of how the saving grace of Christ is truly covering us and that through Him is the only way we can find salvation. It also reminds us that our walk as Christians is a journey, one that will last our entire lives, where we always must be working to learn and grow. For those like me it is a good reminder that slowing down, and giving up ‘my own goals’ can lead to a much more meaningful journey, since we will be relying on Him, and His timing all the more. Plus those Owl pellets can be pretty cool along the way.

We managed to wrap up our day hiding from some thunderstorms and then being able to get in a little swimming at the beach after the storms had left the area. In the end we spend four nights and three full days at this park and it will definitely be on our list of places to visit again! Next stop, Plymouth!

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