Forty-two (42) days from yesterday (Saturday), I hope to jump on the Appalachian Trail for the first time in my life. I did some practicing yesterday – more on the hike in tomorrow’s post – and the thru-hiker wannabe inside me raised his arms in enthusiastic anticipation. A year ago October (17 months ago) my dream of hiking the A.T. was just a mist and a fleeting idea. Now that I am less than two months from the starting line, the dream is taking on legs carrying a backpack.
With major ticks of the clock moving toward the dawn of the thru-hike, I want to share a rather candid reflection of my thoughts and attitudes, my fears and concerns, my hopes and my apprehensions. Do I have any doubts? Absolutely not! Do I have any butterflies in my stomach? Absolutely not! Do I stress at all about the possibility of not completing the trail? Absolutely not! Do I always tell the truth? Absolutely not! Self imposed pressure continues to mount. The quiet voices of failure within are beginning to sound like a cacophony of trumpets, gongs, and timpani. The confidence of 17 months begins to fade in the rapidly approaching countdown.
And then…. I remember the peace that God provided and the promises in His word of His protection, His presence, and His provision. Without a sense of His call to this adventure, my old feet would turn ice cold and my 63-year-old legs would claim to be some variety of Welch’s jelly. But with the assurance that God has opened so many doors that have enabled this trek to become a reality and with the support and prayers of friends and family, I continue to count down the days with excitement and anticipation. The hike is going to be fabulous. It is going to be hard. It is going to be transformational. It is going to be an adventure!
I fully expect to be changed greatly on the trail – and I fully anticipate liking the person that God transforms – and I pray that my wife will be happy to open the front door when I return.
Forty-two days! Six weeks! The countdown does continue!