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On Our Little Way

As the sweltering days of summer give way to the crisp, cool air of Autumn, it can only mean one thing for our family: hiking season has officially begun!

Hiking is an integral part of our family culture, so much so that we set an annual hiking goal to complete 100 miles together during the year.

Our hope is to give our family an opportunity to be physically active with one another while enjoying God’s glorious creation and also to provide more occasions for us to engage in meaningful conversations without the distractions of daily life.

Hiking has encouraged our family to learn to slow down. In a society that thrives on living in the fast lane, escaping to the great outdoors provides a place for us to disconnect from our many distractions and focus on our immediate surroundings. In nature, we embrace the silence, allowing time and space to not only listen to each other, but to listen to the whisper of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

On the trail, we are able to contemplate how in creation we can see the fingerprint of God.

Hiking reminds our family that life is a complex and wondrous journey, full of twists and turns, and that we must always remember what our destination is and where we are going. We might not know what lies before us on the trail, or what obstacles we may encounter, but we trust that whatever we face we can navigate together.  A long and challenging trail is a lot like life, especially for a person trying to navigate life with the goal of sainthood.

Trail life requires perseverance.

We never complete a hike without tears, scraped knees, blisters, or moments where exhaustion overcomes us. When we encounter moments of difficulty on the trail, we are reminded of the power of encouragement. It is amazing what someone can conquer when they feel the love and strength of others.

And so, welcome Autumn and the beginning of hiking season. May we all find some time to embrace the natural world around us. May this beautiful world that God has set before us point us to God and our heavenly home. When we choose to hit the trails, either as individuals, friends, or families, may we be reminded that hiking can be a metaphor for life.

Friends, we are always on our way to Heaven, and if we are still on this Earth, we still have steps left in our journey.

We may not always know what is before us, but with trust, perseverance, grace, and encouragement we will find our way home. Happy Trails!

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Erin Pohlmeier

Erin is a Northern-born, Southern-living professional teacher on an indefinite sabbatical to raise 6 (for now) children and is currently a deacon's-wife-in-training. She manages life, faith, and her family's annual goal of hiking 100 miles.

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