I haven’t slept that sound in a long time. Waking up in my hammock, suspended above Justin’s hammock, I looked out at the world that surrounded me. The mountains that towered around us on all sides and the large trees that gave us shade from the sun were the main things that caught my attention. I was happy to find that the sun was high enough in the sky for the trees to be of good use for shade, this meant we had slept in a bit. After being wet and cold all afternoon and evening the day before on that over 5 hour long hike in the river that runs through The Narrows, no one was going to complain about having gotten a little extra sleep. We had a big day ahead of us, but I was in no hurry. I lay there a while, taking everything in and just waiting for the other guys to start waking up. The past several mornings we have been getting up really early to see sunrises and such and our nights tend to be late because we stay out until after dark, then still have to cook our dinners and clean up before sleep. I heard the tent unzip and in about the time I was able to turn over and look out of the other side of my hammock, Phil was already lighting the grill to boil water for Grits and of course coffee. His eyes barley open, he seemed to be moving without thinking. In a morning haze, his head hung a little and his arms moved faster than the rest of his body, picking this up and setting that down. I asked him if I could help with the eggs since eggs are one of the few things I know how to cook and he thought about it for a second before shrugging and saying “Sure, if you want to.” Before long the rest of the ROALT crew was awake and eating breakfast.
We cleaned up our dishes, discovering that grits can be extremely difficult to clean out of bowls and pans when they are semi dry, and began discussing what we should do that day. Tim and Jay have done an excellent job of planning out almost every hour of this trip. Tim did all the research and read all the reviews, and when he decided exactly where we should go, he let Jay figure out the best routes and how much time we would need at each location. All of that to say, we knew exactly what we wanted to do and that was to hike Angels Landing; what we had to decide was when. Transportation is much easier in our day and age. We can hop in a plane and fly here, or sit down in a personal luxury car and drive just about everywhere else. With no regard for outside conditions, today’s modes of transportation almost all have shelter and air conditioning. You can easily carry gallons of water, and if you get hungry along the way, you can generally pull over to the fast food restaurant of your choice and within minutes be consuming hot food of whatever sort you desire. Not so in the wild. Here in Utah it gets extremely hot during the day, and we had not finished our breakfast until after 9:00 am. And quickly it was becoming a race against the sun.
We had to decide if we should take the time to pack everything in the van now, or get on the trail as soon as possible to beat the hottest point of the day. The only problem with packing later was that we needed to be in Las Vegas that evening, so we really didn’t have to the time to come back. So after deliberating about it all for a few minutes, a couple of us finally just decided that we were going to pack up the entire camp site so we could roll out immediately after the hike. Some of the guys didn’t like the idea of hiking in the hottest part of the day any longer then they had to and thought we should leave right away, until some one remembered that we had to check out of our camp site by 11:00 am, so that settled that and everyone started moving faster. Tom is our master loader. It has gotten to the point that no one wants to put anything in because Tom does such a good job and always knows where everything is. We always end up with a bunch of stuff lying out on the ground behind the bus if Tom is off somewhere for a little while when we are packing up. We got everything loaded and headed off to the trailhead.
The trail was easy and wide at first, but soon it started to get steep and the winding switchbacks seemed endless. Colin had jammed his toe in the river pretty badly the night before, so he thought for just a second about not even going on the hike, but he quickly decided to go and just told everyone to go on ahead and not to wait for him. We tried to go ahead of him but that lasted about 2 switchbacks and we decided it would be more fun if we were just all together no matter how long it took. I think out of the whole group, Colin has the least experience in the outdoors, so he has been doing a lot of things he is not used to. For example, the night we hiked the narrows, the last waterfall was really difficult to climb over because the rocks were slippery and the water was rushing over you. Colin must have fallen 3 times before he finally made it over. I was really impressed with how tough he was about it, and I wasn’t disappointed when it came to this hike either. Even though he was in pain, both from a jammed toe and soar muscles from getting beat against the Rocks in his climb attempts, he was pushing through, and that says a lot about a person’s character.
We hiked up for a couple hours until we reached the last leg, a stretch of hiking that, looking back, was pretty dangerous. I could go into a lot of depth trying to explain it but I think this video will suffice.
We made some friends on the way up and after taking pictures and hanging out at the top, we began our decent. We had used most of our water on the way up and I had handed out all 6 or 7 of the cliff bars I had in my pack, so I was ready to get back to the trailhead to get some water and food. It was after 1:00 and the sun was cooking us! I ran ahead of the group a little just for fun and I happened across some folks we had met on the way up who had headed down before us. As we went down we were talking about random things; one of them said girl said she had seen a guy going up with his girlfriend and she looked like she was not into the climb at all. I chimed in “The girl I’m crazy about would love this kind of thing.” They asked me how I knew she was the one, and this is what I got to tell them. (stick with me there is a point to all this)
I said “well first of all I’m a Christian, and it’s not that I want the one I commit to investing in for the rest of my life just to have the same beliefs as I do, but because I’m a Christian, I live for Christ and for his glory, so that pretty much defines every thing I do. I live my life to bring God glory, both in my being a witness for him, and when I fail, being a witness of his grace and redemption of me. When I am considering a big decision like who to marry, well it all depends on how God is leading me and what his will is for my life.”
“So you mean like if fate brings you together.”
“Something like that, but it’s way more intense than just fate. Like if I wasn’t saved then finding the person for me would have been all about finding who I thought was going to make me happy, and who I thought was the most attractive and made my heart go pitter patter. Those are good things but the problem is, all that fades when you find out they have problems just like you.”
“So then how do you know she’s the one?”
“Because what I want in a spouse is someone who I know can help me and I can help her, grow towards becoming more like Christ. We liked a lot of things about each other but weren’t really sure because it was just awkward and we weren’t sure if it was just that we didn’t have chemistry or if it wasn’t Gods will for us to be together. The bible says ‘be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’ I think God wanted to teach us some things by keeping us up in the air. I needed to learn that I wasn’t always going to be able to love someone in my own power and we both had to be willing to let each other go in exchange for God’s will in our lives. The bible also says he will give us the desires of our hearts, so one day I just prayed that God would make me love her, and apparently she prayed the same thing and we didn’t even know it, and now we are crazy about each other. So in conclusion, I have no idea what to tell you about how to know if some one is “The One” if you are not saved and living for God’s Glory. If you are not living for God then you are living for yourself and what makes you happy and are going to be looking for fulfillment in the wrong places. You will never find fulfillment in another person because we are all lacking somewhere and we all need something. You would need someone who doesn’t need anything to fill your need, and no human being by themselves can do that. Only God can do that. We talked about Christ and salvation a little bit more but the conversation shifted to how hot we were and how we were getting dizzy. Praise God for the river at the bottom of the trail!
Looking back on both the indecision of that morning, and the conversation I had on the hike down the mountain, I realized something. As God’s children, we have to be willing to move in a direction, to commit and allow God to open or close doors. God will sometimes leave us with tough decisions that we don’t really have clarity about. For me at least, it’s easy to do something crazy or hard if I know God is behind it; it’s when I’m not sure what God wants that it’s the hardest to make decisions. That’s when our faith is really tested. We have to have faith that God is still in control, even in silence, and we have to seek him earnestly for his direction, trusting that as we move forward in a direction, that he will direct and redirect us to do his will. I will never forget the day one of my best friends and a man I look up to in life said the following regarding the will of God.
Three main things God wants you to do Keller
Love The Lord with all your heart,
Love others like you love yourself,
Go into all the world and make disciples
Spreading his Fame and Glory.
– Charles (monkey) Thompson