16 March 2010

Slogging and Jogging, Ups and Downs

Some ups and downs today.

On the down side, another issue with ex-spouse. These are always depressing, but on reflection, I am a lot stronger than I used to be. I decided not to be down-hearted. I'll get through it, I've made it this far.

On the up side, several things.

First nice thing. I was honored and humbled by being asked to officiate at the wedding in June of two friends whom I love dearly. I'm thrilled.

Second nice thing. I actually broke loose from the office at the insanely early hour of 5:10 pm and drove to a nearby wilderness park for a 2 mile hike through some of the most beautiful country around. Fresh forest air & scenery did wonders for this deskbound mandarin. The weather still being somewhat cool, there weren't a lot of other people on the trails, which was nice.

At one point along the trail the forest gives way to rolling meadows covering hillsides. There wasn't a soul around. In front of me stretched a long road going up, up, up a hill. Yeah, that hill over there to the right. Same one. Suddenly I was struck by how much like my life that moment was; I'm surrounded by beauty, yes, but I'm trudging alone up a long and demanding road that ends I know not where. My natural instinct was to look up and say "Are you there to help?"

And a very funny thing happened. Just as quickly, just as quietly, but just as unmistakeably as anything I've ever heard, an answer came back. "Yes, I'm here. You'll be all right. Keep going."

And that was that. So I did. I kept going, heart glowing a little brighter from that brief touch like the fingertips on the Sistine Ceiling. And on to the top of the hill, where I was rewarded with a beautiful view that stretched almost the entire length of San Francisco Bay north to south. Had it been a little less cloudy and hazy I could have seen all the way from Novato to San Jose. It was magnificent. Lesson: When you have to trudge up a hill alone, keep going, you may be rewarded beyond what you expect.

Third nice thing. Having descended from the hilltops, as I walked along a trail toward my car, a jogger approached. Late 30's, dark hair, muscular, good-looking. Not going too fast. He looked at me, I looked at him. Eyes locked, gaze didn't break. He smiled. I smiled. Not just a polite half-hearted one. Genuine full smiles. Eyes stayed locked as he passed. Nice to see another family member on the trail.

I headed back to work (yes, that's right) with a happier heart. I should hit that trail more often.


Romulus said...

This reminds me that spring is coming and that I love to run for miles and miles outside. It helps me clear my mind, to really concentrate on what is going on in my life.

Joe Conflict said...

Nice--you need good times like all of us.

Anonymous said...

On Sunday, the speaker at my sacrament meeting in Orem considered the example of hiking unfamiliar trails as sunset approached. Without a GPS, he reasoned, such a trek would pose a certain threat to one's safety. It might be thrilling. It could yield fantastic results. It might be perfectly safe. But then it also might not be. You could lose yourself, forced to bear the night alone--you might even die. "Why even take the risk? Who knows what the road ahead holds?" he asked with a conclusive tone, as if to close the discussion on the matter entirely--as if his rhetorical question pronounced an irrefutable quad erat demonstratum to the congregation.

When I hear such things these days, all I can do is give a half smile and exhale a bit, as if to articulate my critique briefly enough that I can still let it go and retain my sense of wonder, not losing myself inside the confinement of an over-pressured argument.

Thank you for walking up that (crooked?) path in the dusk. Your courage and sense of adventure amidst uncertainty and trial bring a smile to the faces of many more.