Hiking with A continues to teach me new things…we had been on the trail for over an hour when I became aware of several things:
1) This staircase would be bad on the way down but would be very difficult on the way back up!
2) Things were taking LONGER than I anticipated…it took us over an hour and a half and we hadn’t reached the end of the hike (Malcolm Point) and I was worrying about speeding up a bit
3) A 6 year old is less worried about her father’s timeline and is way more interested in the sights and sounds of the forest.
Sometimes I can be so concerned with getting somewhere I can totally miss out on where I’m at. In my mind, I’m focused on where the trail will take A and I- out to Malcolm Point. I keep encouraging her and hiking and the whole time I’m thinking of how great it will be to get to Malcolm Point, the end of the trail, where we will stop and look at the ocean and eat food and relax and then hike back. In my wishing to get to Malcolm Point though, I’m missing out on the rest of the island! I’m so focused on the Pt. (Malcolm Point that is) that I miss the whole point of the hike (sorry for the pun).
And who better to teach me this than my daughter A. Because as I’m hiking and pushing full steam ahead, I keep turning around to find that A has stopped some 50 feet back and is totally engrossed in some amazing discovery she has made along the trail. “Look Papa,” she says with joy and discovery dripping from her voice, “A SLUG!” And then to ensure she gets the whole experience she drops to her knees in the dirt and explores some more.
I’m ashamed to say it took me a while to realize the lesson God was teaching because at first I kept telling Avery, ‘hurry up sweetie, we have to keep hiking.’ Think how silly this is…to hurry past the discoveries of the hike in order to finish the hike. We know this is how we are wired a bit; it is always just too easy to miss the things God has given us in the moment to be concerned with how the future might unfold. I have spent much of my life wondering what might happen next, but as A was teaching me here, the very best parts of the journey are when we are truly present to that which God has given us in this very moment. As Jesus reminds us here
in Matthew’s Gospel, we need only worry about today and all that God reveals in this very moment– or else we will miss it. I love how The Message phrases Jesus teaching, “What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting,
so you can respond to God’s giving
What is God giving you today? Where has he placed you today? God deeply cares about where you will be in 5 years or even next week, but first and foremost He wants you to see Him today in the very place He has placed you. If we don’t see the beauty of the places we are at, we will miss it all.
If we never stop to look around, we'll miss the blessings right under our nose.