Adventures… or, Letting Go

Lupines in Elk Meadows below Mt. Hood, Oregon

Lupines in Elk Meadows below Mt. Hood

When we go out into the wilderness, we’re setting ourselves up for an adventure – or even more than one adventure.  We’re submitting ourselves to the whims of the winds, the weather, the trail, the animals that live there.  We’re stepping out of our comfort zone and into something that we’ve never seen before, have only read about, and that we cannot control.  We’re letting go, so that we can have that adventure.

Or holding fast: climbing headlands near Third Beach in Olympic National Park, Washington

Or holding fast: climbing headlands near Third Beach, Washington

Still, we feel pretty safe.  Today, with our cars and houses and ample camping gear, we feel pretty safe when we go out in the wilderness.  After all, our GPS will take us back to the comfort of our vehicle if we somehow get off the trail or just stay out too long and get back after dark, and then we can drive to our nice, warm home, make a hot meal, and go to bed thinking what a wonderful day we had.

Exploring the middle of nowhere along the Big Crack in Lava Beds National Monument, California

Exploring the middle of nowhere along the Big Crack, California

The adventure is often fun – exploring new places, seeing new things, experiencing new sensations.  But if someone is desperate to be in control, adventure is not fun.  Adventure means letting go, taking things as they come, carrying through with the plan while being ready to drop the plan at any moment as conditions change.

Barnacles at Hug Point, Oregon

Barnacles at Hug Point, Oregon

For some people, that’s not a fun place to be.  They would prefer a little more consistency, a little less of the unknown.  But that’s not an adventure – at least, not a true adventure.

Sweep of scree away from Electric Pass down to Cathedral Lake, Colorado

Sweep of scree away from Electric Pass down to Cathedral Lake, Colorado

Adventures in the wilderness can be quite exciting at times (I’m thinking of trails buried under the snow and thunderstorms at 14,000ft.), or sometimes so peaceful and restful that it’s hard to quantify it as an “adventure”.

Hidden coastal trail through hedges along the coast of Floras Lake Beach, Oregon

Hidden coastal trail through hedges along the coast of Floras Lake Beach, Oregon

Still, the adventures in the wilderness at times mirror the adventures we experience in our relationship with God.  I’m sure you’ve heard about “climbing mountains” or “going through valleys” in our Christian experience.  It’s all part of the adventure; all part of following God, of walking with God, through this lifetime.

Ascending the dunes at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Ascending the dunes at White Sands, New Mexico

I made t-shirts for my family many years ago for Christmas; they read, “If you’re walking with Jesus, you’re on an Adventure.”  You can’t escape adventure in the wilderness, and you can’t escape adventure if you’re walking with God.

Sheer cliff from the Chasm View Trail to the Gunnison River in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Sheer cliff from the Chasm View Trail to the Gunnison River, Colorado

You can try to make the adventure a bit more tame.  Stay at the viewpoints along the park road; walk the nature trail; don’t get too far out into the unknown.  Go to church, say your prayers, read your Bible, but don’t become a “religious nut” (to which I have to respond, if I’m a religious nut, at least I’m screwed onto the right bolt!)

I'm not sure where the trail went, but here we are at Bill Kenyon Pass in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California

I’m not sure where the trail went, but here we are at Bill Kenyon Pass, California

You can control your adventure.  Or you can have an adventure.  They are not one in the same; you can’t have both of them, together.

Coastal Forest near Strawberry Point, Washington

Coastal Forest near Strawberry Point, Washington

I’m not suggesting being foolish or going out completely unprepared.  Even in our walk with God we must be prepared to keep going with Him, to trust Him and His character.  But unless we can let go, we will never experience Adventure in God – or in the wilderness.

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