The paths are way prettier than the top
My husband and I decided to skip church today. I know, I know, I can hear the gasps from the back. How dare we miss church?! While I can’t say that we had a good reason for missing church, I really wanted to go hiking and what better church than the one which God built? Plus I love hiking and I would probably go every weekend if I could…but I don’t really have a husband that shares that same passion. (Hi Scott!)
Since we were without our kids we decided to go hiking along the three peaks of Bennachie (for you non-natives, see the photo below). It was a perfect day! Hardly any wind (which is a rare occurrence), there weren’t many people, sunny, not too hot, not too cold, just right. There’s just something about being in nature that roots you in joy (no pun intended… ok, maybe there was).
“We should take a photo of us here,” I say.
“We should wait until the top, it’s better,” he responds.
“The paths are way prettier than the top,” I retort.
It’s amazing how in one walk two people can see things so differently. I keep exclaiming how beautiful the scenery is and my husband says it’s all just brown and green; I could see loads of colours! He was, of course, just saying this to wind me up. I wanted to take photos of us along the paths to the top; my husband wanted to take photos at the top. But this had me thinking about about how true this can be in life. We always want to take photos of the finish line. We think that’s the final goal and nothing else matters. Yet, it’s always the journey that’s the most important, the finish line is just a bonus.
When I did my first half marathon my husband and I were, unsurprisingly, last place (granted there were only about forty of us and everyone else clearly did these a lot). We were last but we never stopped running. We chatted and enjoyed the incredible scenery even as we saw people pass us. The run was great…right until the last three miles when it became torture. It was all uphill yet I demanded more and more from my legs. I was not going to stop. I yelled out in frustration and anger; my husband curse and swore at himself to keep going. I would not let my body let me down. So I grunted and set my face with a fierce determination.
We made it through those hills despite the desire to throw up from exhaustion. The wind kept wanting to blow us backwards and we were on our own in the middle of nowhere. But we made it. The finish line was great but that’s not the moment I look back on. I look back on all of the little moments along the run: the rainbow that shone out across the valley, the beautiful river, the cute houses made of stone built before we were all born and standing long after, the incredible views of mountains and farmland, the moments of incredible hardship that made us want to quit, the moments of encouragement from other racers cheering us on despite them being so so much better than us. The finish line was great, but the race was significantly better.
Journeys can be leisurely and exhausting, beautiful and torturous, but almost always we will learn something about ourselves along the way. We just have to see what comes before the finish line. Don’t focus on the mountain top. Look at the greens and browns along the way.
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:11-13
Keep going. The finish line will be amazing but the journey to it will be the most memorable.
And now, please enjoy these photos from last November (so many sessions to catch up on!) of the D family. How adorable are they?!
To book your own family session, Click here.