Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Thunder in the Distance (a metaphor for life)

While we were visiting Acadia National Park in Maine, we set out to go on a challenging, but doable hike with our kids.  After researching some different trails , we settled onto the Cadillac North Ridge Trail, which was considered moderate difficulty over 4.4 miles.  We worried that it would be a difficult challenge, especially for Ellie, but we hoped that the thrill of reaching the trails' end at the top of Cadillac Mountain would be motivating enough for everyone to keep going the whole way.

We changed into our hiking shoes, packed lots of water and snacks, and drove to the bottom of the trailhead.  When we got out of the car to start our journey, I was relieved that everyone seemed to be starting the hike in relatively good spirits and with an air of excitement about the prospect of hiking to the top of a mountain.   While we were all grabbing jackets and making the last minute prep to go on our hike, we ran into a couple of people who were just starting the trail as well.  We chatted for a bit and shared some info about the trail that we'd found in our research.  Twice while we were talking Adam interrupted us to ask what the big booming noise in the distance was.  We hadn't noticed it but assured him anyway not to worry about it.

Shortly after we were done talking and Glen was locking up the car, we heard the booming too and knew without a doubt that it was the sound of thunder in the distance.  Although we could tell that the thunder was nowhere close to us at that point, we immediately worried about the prudence of starting on a 2 hour hike with a storm looming even within hearing distance of us.   I envisioned the panic that would entail, especially among the younger few of our kids if  a thunderstorm hit while we were on the mountainside and it became clear pretty quickly that perhaps it wasn't the wisest course of action for us to go on that hike.

After shlepping us and all of our gear back into the car, we drove to the top of the mountain instead.  Although I knew that it was absolutely the right decision given the circumstances, my disappointment was quite keen at not being able to hike, especially since I knew that we would unlikely to be able to do it again another time.

We got to the top and enjoyed the glorious view, made even more stunning by the billowing storm clouds in the distance.  Thunder continued to boom the entire time we were on the mountain, but never did the storm get any closer.  Despite the afternoon turning out much differently than we expected, we  thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings and even satisfied our thirst for a little adventure by venturing out on a (very) short hike.

Later on I got to thinking that the whole experience was rather metaphorical for the way we live our lives.  Ever since our peaceful scene shattered around us the day that Spencer was diagnosed with leukemia, we have been living our lives with that everpresent thunder of uncertainty booming in the distance.

We try not to let thunderclouds in the distance affect our daily lives too much, but sometimes the fear peeks through and it's hard to see things as they really are....a potential threat. And one that we could surely weather again if we needed to.  Whenever Spencer has an unusual symptom or we hear of a young cancer friend pass away or another one that relapses, the thunder sounds awfully close.  It's in those moments that I have to struggle not to forget the beauty that surrounds us right here and now.

The beauty of time spent together.

The beauty of the world around us.

The beauty of knowing that God is over all,

....and that although we might have to change our course sometimes, 

He will still bring us peace...


....and love.  



Cindy said...

Beautifully written, Lara! The truth is that we all have thunder in the distance. Your example of faith helps all of us to learn to trust that help will come if the storm gets too close. What a woman you are!

George said...

I agree. Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing this.
By the way, Ellie's outfit wins; Cami's Crocs are a close second...

ML said...

Going to Maine was Kailyn's Make-a-Wish trip and we were in Bar Harbor the same time you were! Our 3 youngest (which includes Kait) were born there and my husband and I are from central Maine just north of Bangor. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! (We did a whale watching trip was on Aug. 12--it was awesome!)

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