Finding Rest in the Terrain of Life

by Doreen Stelling, Spiritual Director

imagesThe hike promised amazing views of the Maine coastline.  That sounded good to me!  To get to the trail we first crossed a beautiful beach cove, took some pictures and stepped on the trail heading up.

My husband, Dave and I were on vacation last week celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, and Acadia National Park was one of our stops.  We have hiked many mountain trails over the years.  Usually I enjoy the process of getting to the intended view, but this time I just wanted to get there!  The trail was labeled moderate, and I guess the other side was–but not the side we started on.  There was a lot of climbing and heaving yourself up rocks.  It has been a few years since I have hiked even a small mountain trail, and my 50-year-old joints were complaining.

This is supposed to be fun I told myself.  Why am I not enjoying this?  It’s an effort-filled hike, not a pleasant one.  I thought about how I should think about this as a metaphor for some aspect of life, or how I could lament my older, achier joints.  No, I just wanted it to be over with so we could get to the next stop on the map.

We finally caught a glimpse of the beach far below and took pictures.  Then we came upon some boulders that were made for sitting and taking in the view.  I was aware of the grumpiness building inside me and I didn’t want to ruin the hike for Dave, so I thought it wise to sit, catch my breath and nourish my body with a snack.  Slowly, I began to relax.  Slowly, my energy was being restored.  Slowly, I was reminded of the importance of stopping to rest.  But wasn’t the vacation our rest as we stopped from work and the daily routines at home?  Wasn’t this hike part of the stopping to take in nature? Well, yes and yes.  I realized in that moment the importance of taking the time to nourish one’s mind, body and or soul even in the midst of vacationing.  Five, 10 or 15 minutes can make a difference.  I can easily say that I had a refreshed perspective to continue the hike.  As we stood to hike on I thought about the importance of noticing what is stirring inside me.  When I do notice that I am about to make my life or someone else’s life more difficult, choosing a short break to be still, eat or close my eyes is a gift that I can give myself as well as those around me.

I guess the hike could be a metaphor if I want it to be.  Mostly, I am reminded simply to take breaks to be still, to be nourished, then continue to “hike” whatever “trail” I am on.

Categories Article | Tags: | Posted on July 20, 2015

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