As we hiked to the peak of the mountain on Saturday, my fellow group of campers started begging for a lunch break. Our leader told us, “We’re almost there, just 30 more minutes.”
“You said that 30 minutes ago!” we would shout, and some people started nibbling on their sandwiches in protest.
Finally, we reached a small clearing, and a few people collapsed. It was 3 p.m. and we’d been going since 10. A few boys went ahead to see if the clearing was really “just around the corner,” as our leader had promised. A few minutes later, one of the boys, a young French man who had barely broken a sweat so far, came running back waving his arms.
“It is just around the corner! It’s beautiful! And it’s not so far!”
It’s been a long few weeks. A few of the trials were expected–friends moving, finals. Then there were a few events that seemed to come out of nowhere: a friend’s meltdown, a beloved father figure losing his temper with me, making me feel like dirt. A rather terrifying onslaught of melancholy that lasted for three days and left me completely enervated. I was scared for the first time in awhile.
But when the dust settled, there was God. He seemed as close to me as my own heartbeat. I can’t describe the change, or, rather, growth that’s been occurring. It’s like when you hear someone talking about a very difficult exam they had to take and you know that you have to take that exam sometime soon, in a few years, distant enough not to cause a panic. But you still stop and wonder how you’ll feel. Or like a hunter who is tracking a dangerous beast and finally finds it in a clearing. This chase between me-and-God, God-and-me, back and forth like a game of tag, where is it all headed? To a place of freedom, I’m sure, but a freedom that I can’t envision yet. Perhaps I am just before a splendid view from the mountaintop, or perhaps I have just begun a new hike. But when I close my eyes I see the figure of one who has run ahead and has returned, waving his arms and telling me that it’s beautiful.