Monday, August 29, 2011

Hiking Musings

In the post right before this one you can see some of my favourite pictures from my recent hike in Yoho National Park in BC. In this post however, I just want to share some of the things I experienced and some thoughts I had from the hike.

Going into the hike, I didn't really know if it would be managable, or if it would destroy me physically. Now, having completed it, I am very happy with how I did. Overall it was managable, but there were moments of pain, sweat, tears, and moments where I did not know how I was going to carry on.

On the second day of the hike we did a trail called "The Whaleback." For five hours we hiked switchbacks up the side of a mountain, through a pass, and then back down again. After that five hours, I was exhilirated both from the sights I had just witnessed and from the fact that I accomplished so much. But I was also physically exhausted - pain in my knees, my lower back, my upper back, my shoulders. And at this point we still had one hour left of level ground hiking before we reached our campsite. You would think that flat ground would be a breeze after so much hard work. But exhaustion was creeping in, and I literally did not know how I would be able to go on. At one point as Kevin and I were encouraging each other to keep putting one foot in front of the other, he said to me "We are more than conquerors!" And I said back "But not on our own - more than conquerors through Jesus..."

As I kept somehow putting one foot in front of the other, I began to think of Jesus. Specifically of Jesus carrying the cross up that hill on the day He gave His life for us. How did He find the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other? I was just trying to keep going so that at the end of the trail I could throw off my pack and find some rest. He walked on by choice knowing that what awaited Him was His death.

At the end of the third day, we had just hiked a trail called "The Iceline." This trail was mainly above the tree line and our view of the surrounding mountains was brilliant! There were still peaks above us with glaciers and lakes and rivers. It was a totally different landscape than anything else I've encountered before. That evening I read a few verses in John 1. Verse 3 - He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make. I'm lying in my tent with an overwhelming flood of images from the day - all the sights of awesome creation I had hiked through - and none of it exists without Jesus. He spoke it into being. Wow!

There's also just something about pushing yourself to accomplish something of this magnitude. It's not that it was ridiculously hard - but for me, a semi-active girl who mainly sits behind desks and computers and occasionally takes a bike ride or a walk - this was big. It's been a little more than a week since, but I keep thinking "If I can climb a mountain, I should be able to do..." I got myself up off my bum and did something amazingly worthwhile and I feel now that there is less room for excuses, less right for me to not do that on a daily or at least regular basis - physically but also relationally, spiritually. It is worth it to get up and do something! Walk, bike, play a sport, go out for coffee with someone, spend time with God outside, sing, be quiet, be loud.... I think for a small window I saw that life is supposed to be lived, not watched.

There was a point a few weeks/months ago where we were unsure if we were going to be able to go on this hike. But multiple times throughout it, I thought and even said to Kevin, I am so glad we made this happen. It has been a goal of mine for a little while, and it was worth it to do.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Hike

Here are some of my favourite pictures from the recent mountain hike I did in Yoho National Park. I thought I could put a caption on each picture, but I cannot seem to figure out how. Not the most artistic layout, but hopefully this shares a bit of how much I loved this hike. Great group of people to spend four days with. Incredible surroundings that shouted of the greatness of God - mountains, rivers, waterfalls!! Enjoy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The next two weeks

My head hasn't quite been able to wrap itself around this fun new word it is experiencing: Holidays. So let's figure it out here... Holidays [hol-i-dey] - noun a time or period of exemption from any work, requirement, duty,assessment, etc.  Yep, haven't quite wrapped my head around it.

Regardless, next week we are going to Alberta to go on a mountain hike in Yoho National Park with some of Kevin's family.  The picture above is from google, but in a few weeks I'll hopefully have a few great ones of my own to share.  Am looking forward to some time away, a literal change of scenery, and the new creation of great memories.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I just finished reading the entire Chronicles of Narnia from start to finish for the first time.  I already knew the story of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but had never read the full series.  I just love Aslan and the correlations between this character and Jesus.  It has been good for me to reflect on some of these characteristics.

Aslan is wild.  Over and over in the books it is said that he is not a tame lion.  To me this means he is not controlled, but the one in control.  He roars and runs and fights battles.
Aslan is good. Good in a way that those in his presence feel a beautiful terror, an awe-filled delight.
Aslan is eternal.  Before the first song to after the final welcome home, he is standing strong.
Aslan is mysterious.  He doesn't always make sense to the children or the Narnians.  He walks in and out of their history, weaving his story but not always answering the questions.
Aslan is sometimes absent, but always present.  Hundreds of years sometimes go by without his physical presence, but yet he's right there too.
Aslan does not force himself.  Some are drawn to him, others can't see or hear him no matter what he does.  He waits for an open heart.
Aslan only tells you your story.  Often in the books, the characters want to know such and such about someone else, and he says he's only telling you your story.  Someone elses story is between that person and him.  Your concern is your story and your time with him, what he says to you.

Sometimes we get a picture of Jesus that he is serious and hard.  I know these are childrens books.  And I do base my picture of Jesus from the Bible.  But even when we read the Bible, I think we don't realize the humanity in the words we read.  For instance when Jesus meets the woman at the well in John 4, or when he saved the woman caught in adultry from being stoned in John 8, on a quick read he can appear slightly hard or detached.  We read these black and white words - Go and sin no more - I am the Messiah - etc. But we need to see the love in His eyes, the passion in His face, and hear the delight in His voice as He brings people from death to life, as He speaks freedom and grace in the face of condemnation and hatred.  Jesus is playful and joy-filled.  I think for some reason relating the character of Aslan to Jesus brought Him a little bit more to life to me.  Except that Jesus isn't a character, He is the Lord and Saviour and delights in being these things in our lives - eternal, good, wild, present, storyteller, come along side, and even mysterious.