The Things We’ll Carry, Part 2
Why are we doing this?
This Sunday, Claudia and I were invited to visit the senior adult Sunday school class at our church. We talked with them about our plans, and they had lots of questions about what we’ll eat, how many miles we’ll walk in a day, etc. which we could rattle off answers to, but their final question stopped us. . . “Why are you doing this?”
The class is studying the book of John, and wanted to get our perspective on what it would be like to walk 75 miles over mountains as Jesus did on one journey. The teacher wanted to give the class a human perspective of the trials Jesus and the disciples faced on their passage. We take the difficulties of their travels for granted. The gospels don’t give much detail on what disciples ate, where they slept, or how much their packs weighed. Clearly the technology has changed, but we affirmed YES hiking 75 miles over mountainous terrain would be very difficult and should not be taken for granted.
You never read about people giving up on their trips for personal reasons in the gospels. Paul didn’t decide being cold and wet was too much and give up on sharing his message. He was on a mission . . . he had a clear purpose and knew why he was out there and what was at stake.
We have asked ourselves these same questions many times, and are using a framework from Appalachian Trials to guide our mental preparation. The book asked us to create lists in response to 3 prompts. We both have personal lists in response to these prompts to carry with us. When we feel like quitting or have a tough day/week/month we can turn to these to remember why we thought hiking 2,200 miles was a good idea. A few of our responses are below.
Let’s play 4 truths and a lie
There are 2 responses from each of us and one lie in each category. Can you guess which is which?
- I am thru hiking because:
- I saw “A Walk in the Woods” and decided to give hiking a try!
- I want to get away- less TV, Facebook, phones, screen time etc.
- I don’t have to wait until retirement age to live the way I want to live.
- I want to cultivate a sense of how God sees people, rather than how I see them.
- I have wanted to thru-hike since my 17 year old self met a thru-hiker in the Great Smokey Mountains
- When I successfully thru hike the AT I will:
- Make a Snapfish book.
- Have new perspectives on: time, travel, life, relationships, and God.
- Walk to Canada and live a nomadic life in the Great Bear Rainforest.
- Have a greater appreciation for the movements of Civil War troops.
- Travel to see friends and family.
- If I give up on the AT I will:
- Not get to finish it with Claudia.
- Go to work for “the man”.
- Hide and cower.
- NEVER GO OUTSIDE AGAIN.
- Essentially be homeless.
Being with the senior adults on Sunday was affirming of why we want thru-hike. I heard several remarks like, “I wish I had done something like that when I was able,” or, “I could never do something like that.” We spent the first 30 minutes of Sunday school listening to prayer requests, and offered our prayers for those present, and those confined to hospital beds or long term care facilities. It was a stark reminder that we only have a limited time on earth, and our bodies will eventually betray us. There is even a rule that describes how fast our bodies decline, known as the 1% rule(Krause’s Food & the Nutrition Care Process). After age 30 our body’s ability to function declines about 1% every year until it gives up. This process can be slowed, but not stopped by staying active throughout life (The Complete Book of Swimming) . The senior adults asked us why we are doing this, but deep down, I think they already knew. They see an adventure loving couple, without kids, and a chance for the experience of a lifetime.
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