Just a Bunch of Kids on the Trail

Kiddos Cooper Mountain

I have no kids of my own, but I often get to enjoy my friends’ kids. And because some of my friends and I enjoy hiking together, we often experience that phenomenon that is well known by all parents of children. When we first set off from the trailhead, the children have boundless energy. They clasp hands and take off down the trail ahead of us, with us calling to them to stay together, stay on the trail, and wait for us! And about thirty minutes later, those same children who just previously had all of the energy in the world are suddenly wilted and dying on the trail, crying and needing to be carried because, “I caaaaan’t walk anymooooore! I’m sooooo tired! But my leeeeeeeeegs hurt! [insert sob here]” And because I’m the biggest softie of ‘em all, I’ll end up with a five-year-old clinging to my back with sweaty arms choking my neck, while holding the sticky hand of a six-year-old, whom I’m dragging up the trail while she complains that it’s her turn to ride on Miss Sarah’s back.

The best way I’ve found to handle my friends’ kids is to encourage them some, prod them some, and occasionally, carry them to the end of the trail. Each step they take, they will decide whether or not they will continue to put one foot in front of the other and kind of attitude they do it with. Will they whine and cry and scream the whole way? Maybe. But they might just believe me when I say, “See that hill? As soon as we get over it, we’ll be back to the car. You can make it!” And if they trust my words, they might even get excited enough that they begin to run. But occasionally, the trail is really hard for them, and I may have to slow my pace and hold their hands to help them over rocks and brambles. And sometimes, the trail is just too hard for them. Or perhaps they’ve stumbled and twisted an ankle or scraped their knee, and need to be carried. And in that case, I’ll happily swing them onto my hip or my back and carry them home.

Confession time: I’m one of those kids, too. I was literally one when I was their age. But I’m still one of those kids. I’ve always been a dreamer. I get extremely passionate about things that I believe in. But when the going gets tough, I start to wonder if maybe I should just quit. If I get frustrated enough, I’ll crawl off the side of the trail and sit in a patch of poison ivy and sand fleas, while crying and saying, “I just can’t do it! I quit!” But God sends people to encourage me, prod me some. And occasionally, He carries me. But with each step I take, I choose whether or not I’ll trust Him. And I choose whether I’ll keep on the trail. But no matter what, He won’t leave me on the trail to die. If I keep trusting Him, He’ll make sure I make it home.

“As we grow older, some of those dreams begin to fade, washed in pain, cynicism, and failure. The edges tatter, the thread grows bare, and sometimes the fabric falls away completely. Something unnamed repaints the horizon. The mundane, agonizing details of life build and build like bricks. Soon we are too weary of wrestling with our everyday existence to entertain grand visions of destiny.” (From chapter 1 of The Cure by Lynch, McNicol, and Thrall)

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on the book, “The Cure” by Lynch, McNicol, and Thrall. You don’t have to read the book to stick around and chat! However, if you have written a response to this chapter, please feel free to link it up at the widget below. Then, go visit my co-facilitator and friend, Jason, at Connecting to Impact. And we’ll see you again next week!

(Thanks to my friend, Cari, for the picture – which is from one of our actual hikes on Cooper Mountain!)

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About Sarah Salter


  1. Maybe one day you will get to go on a RR hike.. They were always fun.. Got some good stories about having to encourage a lot of boys.. but it works.. And always well worth it.. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I definitely know the feeling! The road can seem endless, the stamina just doesn’t seem to be there. We can switch into survival mode instead of remembering the dream we had to begin with. He doesn’t forget though! He’s so good and so faithful, and I’m SO glad. 🙂 Thanks Sarah.

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