April 18, 2017 12:30 P.M.
I had planned on sleeping at Tray Mountain Shelter (mile marker 58.6) on the Appalachian trail last night and should be climbing Powell Mountain right about now.
But life doesn’t always turn out like we plan, does it? Instead of sumiting Powell Mountain today, I am sitting in the most comfortable chair in my living room. Not because I want to be here, it’s because I have no choice.
After almost two years of planning a through hike on the Appalachian trail this year, I am now planning to have surgery on my back in a few weeks.
Since a fall in December, I’ve known I would not be hiking today. I spent the winter in Florida and was not able to do my favorite thing there…walk the beautiful beaches. I could get as far as the car to the water’s edge and the pain in my back, left hip and leg would stop me. At first I thought it would go away with some rest, but that didn’t happen.
The emotional struggle of this has been as real as the physical pain. I am one of those fortunate women who has not had to deal with much physical pain in my life. I have tried to maintain a healthy life style and walking has been a huge part of that. So, in the past four months I’ve questioned God many times about this. Why? Why now? Is there some reason why you wanted me home this year, instead of on the trail?
I don’t have the complete answer yet, but I think I have part of it. First, it’s given me some insight into the lives of those who have or are suffering from chronic pain. My heart goes out to them as I realize how it can consume their lives, and many times it keeps them trapped in bodies that do not work as they should.
But even more important…God is giving me a lesson in submission. The act of yielding to and accepting the will of a superior authority is not easy for many of us. (especially when it involves physical pain) But, I’m beginning to see that there is something else God wants me to do in the next six months when I thought I would be hiking. Now I pray for wisdom and His leading as I tackle the job He has set before me. If you think of me in the months ahead, will you also pray that I not only heal quickly but that I continue to follow in the path that God has directed me to follow…and that isn’t the Appalachian Trail.