Sunday, July 14

The Journey Home

It's been a while.

I wish I could say I'm no worse for the wear, and haven't been blogging simply because life has been so good that there has been nothing to say about it. But that definitely isn't the case.

Where to start?

Maybe with the end first: even though I've been all sorts of mess, at the end of the day I want to be close to God. I want to trust Him. I want to follow the pathway He reveals and use it to find true happiness. And that's worth whatever it takes.

I never left the Church, and don't plan to. The closest I've ever come to that is missing the last 20 minutes of sunday school to go pick someone up at the airport.

But my thoughts and feelings about everything have shifted and swayed and gone in dozens of directions - and part of my reticence to blog has been that I haven't really wanted my own swaying feelings to influence anyone. And the whole not wanting to come clean anywhere but a bishop's office about all the black tar I've picked up along the way, but feeling like this would be the one place I'd be obligated to do so.

Something is better than nothing though, and my Mom today told me she wanted me to head up part of the family's goals in family history - my role is helping my siblings write down stories from our family past. Which includes me. Which means I get to turn back on the part of my heart that has been hidden for the last many months.

And instead of attempting to write about the months that have passed, months where I didn't want to write or couldn't bring myself to, I'll write about now.

I hiked Stewart Falls with my family yesterday. The hike is up Provo Canyon just inside the National Forest, and the trail is heavy with hikers this time of year. I've done Stewart Falls dozens of times over the years, and it never ceases to be a beautiful sight. Springtime flowers with ward members, stunning fall colors as a Freshman Academy peer mentor, ice-cold water in the falls with a random guy I took hiking - tons of memories.

This hike started out the same. The parking lot had few empty spaces, and cars had parked a couple hundred yards back along the sides of the road. The trail had families, youth groups, and tourist hikers wearing name-brand gear accompanied by off-leash purebred dogs. It was dusty, steep in places, with thick patches of aspen and sunlight streaming through the trees. A vista here, a vista there, and more trail to come.

And then, suddenly, it wasn't.

The trail rounded a corner and passed through a clearing, and I looked up in wonder. I had never seen the mountain view to the right. I had never seen the valley view to the left. The clearing had never been there before, and I stopped in the middle of the trail in almost shock and amazement.

I'm assuming it must have been a major avalanche sometime this past winter. The trees on either side of the trail were mostly missing, and the ones that remained looked as if they had been bent down to be almost parallel to the ground. As I continued to walk, I realized that another aspect was hidden - it was likely that someone had spent an enormous amount of time to clear the trail of debris. Whatever the cause, I found myself with a mix of emotions. Mourning the loss of the familiar white aspen forest... and rejoicing in the new, broader sight that the destruction had revealed.

There were two or three new vistas, on that trail where I had never seen new vistas before. The falls were so full of water that it split into multiple segments and poured down another section of the mountain. The sun hid behind clouds, the wind picked up, the temperature dropped, and combined with the intensity of the water I backtracked on my firm desire to actually go under the falls.

If I look at my own soul, the trail to my heart as it were, I think it could have similarities to my hike yesterday. The hike to my heart is fall less trafficked, as few people make it beyond the outer shell. But to me, and perhaps to others who know me well, the once-familiar path surrounded by the safety of tall aspen groves has had sections gutted by avalanches, leaving breathtaking damage in their wake. Stunning new vistas, perhaps, but broken ground that tells only part of the story of how they came to be.

It's ironic to write that I'm not the same idyllic, carefree soul I was only a few years ago. I won't claim that I've 'seasoned' or any other nonsense word to make it sound like a good thing. The reality is that I've put myself through the wringer, walked to hell, and am on my way back home carrying scars that will likely last a lifetime.

But even if it takes a lifetime to clear the pathway to conversion, even if it takes a lifetime to make myself into a better and happier man... that's a lifetime well spent.

I mean, one of the greatest joys in hiking is in the journey, right?

If nothing else, I'm proud to say that I'm moving forward on the right path.

I'm on my journey Home.

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful insights you found on your hike. Thanks for sharing and comparing your hiking insights. You are amazing and very inspired. Thanks!


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