I am doing a very small series of posts. Actually, it is only going to be three. They are not related in the least bit, except for one small detail. They're all the beginning of my blogging adventure. My friend Fr. Christian asked me to be a guest blogger while he was hiking it up on the Appalachian Trail back in April.
So I happily agreed. These posts were only on his old Blessed is the Kingdom blog, and now I want to share them with you in the more than likely probability that you've never seen them before (unless you have ventured into his archives). If you have seen them, great and enjoy the refresher. If not, awesome! This series installment is titled Leftovers. (But they're not really leftovers, just first-time slash archive-ers). The following is from April 14, 2009.
A month or two ago, I came to the realization that I had never skipped a day of high school. Being a senior, it was weird that I had not participated in that right of passage. However, after a lengthy and comical conversation with my good friends Fr. David Boettner and Melanie Thomas, I decided that I had to skip school and do something fun. Fr. David suggested a hike, and Senior Skip Day was born.
Last week on Holy Thursday, the three of us hiked to a place called Huckleberry Knob, which is about a 30 to 40 minute drive from Tellico Plains. The higher and higher we drove through the mountains, the more snow we saw. We were absolutely amazed. Down in the valley it was 50 degrees and sunny. At 5500 feet, snow still blanketed the ground from the weather system from days before! We pulled off into a tiny parking lot and began our journey on foot.
The snow-concealed path was slippery and a few inches deep in other spots. We followed the path and some deer tracks until they both ended, and then the real journey began. No longer guided by man's invention, we meandered across a wide, flat, seemingly harmless field. All of a sudden, the three of us gave a little shout as we sunk down to our knees in snow. After we collected ourselves and stopped laughing, we kept going. What we had thought would have been a relatively simple hike had turned into one that really made us work our legs. We weren't walking easily across the terrain, we were trudging through snow. Quoting movie quotes is an obnoxious habit of mine, and while hiking, the following exchange from the movie A Knight's Tale popped into my head:
William: Oi sir, what are you doing?
Chaucer: Uh... trudging. You know, trudging?
Chaucer: To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.
Merriam-Webster's definition is "to walk or march steadily and usually laboriously." Ironically, the example they gave was "trudged through deep snow."
Trudging became the motto of our hike. Anytime we stumbled into a particularly deep snowdrift, we would simply "trudge on." Our hike was slow, slightly weary, but definitely not depressing. While surrounded by God's boundless beauty and amidst faith discussions, we most certainly found that we had plenty in life to keep us moving forward. The difference between us and the Chaucer character was that we were trudging with God, and not alone.
There are times when the only thing we can do is trudge. Times when all we feel like doing is trudging. Trudging can be a miserable experience. We may want to give up, throw in the towel; there may be nothing to move us forward. However, when we trudge with God, it can be a pleasant experience. Because of Him, we have something to "soldier on" for, we are able to move forward. When we feel like giving up, God is right beside us, helping us through our difficulties.
So with God at your side, trudge on my friends.