How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.
It was a cool, crisp, early mountain morning. The rich, deep smell of coffee brewed made it’s way into the bedroom gently nudging him awake. He rolled over to his left, his right hand rubbing his eyes wanting to stay between the familiar sheets, yet excited for the hike ahead. He rises, feet plant themselves on the hard, cold wooden floor. His palms pressing against the mattress help him rise as he makes his way to the kitchen to pour a cup of what woke him. Once in hand he savors, as the liquid crosses over this lower lip.
Today is the day.
The Glacier George trail in Colorado. A 9.6 mile trail, 1,600 feet above sea level, awaits his 5’10′ stride. It’s a mild 50 degree September morning. Just glimpses of his breath dance before him as he enters the wilderness through that old creaky front cabin door. He welcomes in the fresh air with a deep breath that fills his lungs full. The crackle of the deep orange, brown and wine red leaves grab his attention. His first discovery, first gift opened. It felt deep, like there was more to it than a simple crackle. Something oddly simple, ordinary, yet truly meaningful. But as his steps continued on, that deepness faded, like each dancing breath that exited his nose.As he slowly moved on his mind flashes back to the first time his boots grabbed this ground.
She glowed as he walked behind her. He was looking at the ground, but couldn’t keep his eyes from wondering north. She was captivating. Gorgeous. Lively. Fierce. Dedicated. And she was his. Somehow, someway, he convinced her that “they” were a good idea. Both knew they were nothing without their shared Christ compass. With that to guide the, it seemed to work.
His daydream was interrupted as his head shifted quickly to the right and his breathing stopped with a short inhale. There were three deer, right before him. They stare. He stares back. Their breath dances too. What seemed like minutes was seconds and they turned and ran to the north. It felt deep, like there was more to it than three deer. Something oddly simple, ordinary, yet truly meaningful. But as his steps continued on, that deepness faded, like each dancing breath that exited his nose. He readjusts his pack straps, resets is shoulders and continues on into the warm morning sun. But as his steps continued on that deepness faded.
His mind raced back to her. It’s as if each time his boots met that dirt trail, he felt her, deeper and deeper. He missed her more and more. The memories that he hadn’t rested on for years seemed more vibrant, brighter than when he actually lived them. As he looked up slowly into the sky the sun forced close his eyes.
How many did he miss? Did he pay enough attention? The way the tip of her nose moved up and down only slightly as she spoke. The occasional click-clack of her jaw when she ate. He wondered how many other small treasures he didn’t discover. Did he love well enough, hard enough, long enough? Was he patient enough? His head slowly dropped south and he continued on.
How he missed her. Everything in his life seemed to slip by so quickly, like a flat souled shoe on black ice. It was as if someone had cause the years to pass at an accelerated rate. But he was here now. He was “awake” to this moment.
The smell of the cool, dry woods was intoxicating. While longing for the years to be recovered, relived somehow, at a slower pace, he had experienced enough to know that all he had now was this moment, and any loosened memories that came with it. What a gift. A unique, one of a kind gift from the one who made him who orchestrated those days. No one else would ever get that same gift. It would be meaningless to anyone else but him. It was his and his alone. Finely crafted and eloquently presented just for him.
He paused. He enjoyed his dancing breath once again and walked on. Slowly he absorbs his surroundings, trying not to miss a single gift as he passes. What an amazing gifter he has. So much investment, so much time, so much knowledge of who will receive it. The word “perfect” doesn’t satisfy as description.
He remembers all those years ago, how God taught him thankfulness, gratitude, trust, perspective…how to live rightly.
So many years not lived that way. Were they wasted? Were they marked off as useless? He doesn’t think so. How would he have what he has now if that road was not walked, those soul-bruises not suffered, the consequences choices made not felt? How would he know true gratefulness, true life, without first experiencing the absence of it?
Nothing is wasted, not a moment. Some of the most precious gifts arise through the tainted, mold covered stank of choices. The most beautiful flowers he ever witnessed were found in the dirtied manure pile behind that old red barn.
You can’t find trust unless you realize you need to look for it.
You can’t decide to live until you realize you haven’t been living.
You can’t choose gratitude, your key to constant joy, until you realize you were not grateful.