Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Hike

Last year I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and after many tests, no specific cause could be found. Doctors' advice: walk 30 minutes daily, but avoid uphill exertion.  I'm a nurse; I rarely listen to good sound medical advice, but last year I asked Rob to make the big camp hike without me.  That he did with two large blood clots in his lung. Of course, I didn't know Rob was filled with cancer and life-threatening complications; I just attributed his inability to race up the hill, like in past years, to his soon to be repaired abdominal hernia. But... 
Guilt plagued me for months. What was I thinking? Why was I so selfish? 
I would make that hike this year in honor of Rob! I was determined! 
Backpack pared down to essentials and Rob's last Asher t-shirt pinned to it, hiking stick in hand, I was set to go, but the load still cried heavy.  My heart was full of bittersweet memories of the last Exodus hike and I was dreading the part where our men would carry the Ark of the Covenant to the Tabernacle. My Rob would be missing. I would not have that familiar strong hand to grasp when unsteady rocks were a struggle. A ton of "solo" to carry!

"Our" hike was sweet, yet solemn. I whispered the Song of Ascents, psalms recited by faithful Jews as they climbed the steps of their Temple, and lovingly remembered snapshots of past camps, but moreover, God's faithfulness throughout those years.  I would reach back occasionally and feel Rob's backpack and shirt. The three of us were making the climb together and I felt the guilt that had haunted me for months begin to shed.
Nearing the top, I began to tire, each step proving a little harder, both physically and emotionally. It was then I felt a gentle push on my backpack. Daniel, our Camp Eagle sponsor, was marking each step with me and pushing me toward the goal.  
The God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12 

My rear guard... Isn't that just like our loving, protective Father?
For weeks prior to camp, I had prayed for the young woman or man who God would choose to assist our tribe. God had blessed us with former Camp Eagle staff that have become beautiful friends and encouragers during this difficult year. I knew He would provide once again, but Daniel exceeded my expectations! Throughout the week, my new friend would pray with and over me...truly a gift from God.
I'm again reminded that we're not meant to journey alone through this rocky, uphill climb called Life. The Message shouts Galatians 6:2 in a perfect way: Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and complete Christ's law.
Whose  backpack, full of hardship, am I going to reach out and gently push forward today?

1 comment:

cal+claire said...

I'm still here. I'm still praying. I'm still thinking about you. Just wanted you to know, sweet friend.