Experiencing the Weight of Glory, Desire, & Excitement.
Less than three months away! It is real.
My gear is coming together; I just received my AT tag for my pack; friends are ready to do shakedown winter-hikes with me; REI is becoming like a second home to me; I have launched a website and instagram for friends and family to follow & contribute to the ministry the girls and I will do; I told my job that I am leaving for a 5-6 month hike (!!! and they are totally supportive !!!); if statements have officially made the transition to when statement by everyone; and I am beginning to feel this deep down excitement that has never existed.
Is this the real life? Is this just some weird FOMO?
I’ve been excited to do this hike since I first witnessed an acquaintance’s Facebook album about their thru-hike back in 2013. But this sort of excitement is different; it’s raw.
Earlier this week, I was listening to a podcast about the spiritual experience of thru-hiking, and a thru-hiker shared part of his spiritual/religious experience on the trail. He talked about the grace & hospitality he witnessed from religious groups on the trail who were intentional about serving thru-hikers.
While I was listening to his story (and realizing the grace I have experienced throughout my planning of this trail and the ministry work I want to do while I walk to Maine), I was overwhelmed with this burning sensation in the deep part of my core. Now, I am not talking about my abdomen; I mean my core–my inherent being.
It was as if God was whispering to me and into me “we will experience likewise.”
Now, this isn’t some weird FOMO, although the symptoms are similar. In stead of fearing that I will miss out on what that person experienced, I experience a joy of knowing I too will experience my own version.
Hike Your Own Hike–HYOH/Experience Your Own Experience — EYOE
I do have expectations going into this hike (which I am sure I will share in a later blog). Yet, I find my heart telling my mind “slow down, girl, we will get there and it will be better than anything you could dream up.” It is the anticipation of meeting myself in a new and raw way. It is the anticipation of meeting God in a new and raw way. It is the knowledge that I will experience life anew; and I will be opened to a new life.
The Weight of this Glorious Hike
I still consider myself a recent lover of C.S. Lewis. It has been about 18 months since I first read Narnia, but since then have read 25+ of his works and took a class about him & his theology. I find God speaking to me about this hike just as Aslan has spoke to Jill Pole in The Silver Chair: “You would not have been called to me unless I had been calling you.” Or as Lewis talks about Desire in The Weight of Glory: “We remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy. But is there any reason to suppose that reality offers any satisfaction to it?“;This hike in and of itself will not satisfy this deep need. What I will become & who I will encounter, within myself and within others, will.
This trail, this journey, this deep down desire, is a call to something greater: to be greater, experience great things, and to be in relationship with great people. I would have no desire in walking 2,109.3 miles unless something was calling me; something which I have been desiring to experience but did not yet know what would fill that desire.
Now, Lewis is discussing Paradise/Heaven/God in his essay as the fulfillment of desire, and I would be silly to substitute the hike in his argument (although some people would view the hike/trail as equivalent to a Paradise/Heaven). For me, however, it is the relationship with God and myself that I truly believe will fill part of this desire. This hike will be a spiritual hike, that is no question. This hike will also be a deepening of who I am as a person and my relationship with God.
I am Jill, standing on the edge of a cliff: scared, anxious, curious, and oddly confident that this is exactly where I need to be. I am Jill: called out of one life, and called into another life. I am Jill asking God why I was called into this new world, into this new experience. And the response I hear, “I have been calling you to do this your whole life, my dear. Let’s get going, we have a long walk ahead of us.”
Yet, this hike will be more than I could ever image.
and that is what makes my deep down self giddy with excitement.
In Peace, friends.
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