On the second day of the hike, we set out for Big Horn Pass, which was the summit point of the trip. We had perfect weather for hiking all morning. It was a thrill watching elk graze with their little ones and mountain sheep leap among the rocks on sheer cliffs.
At the top, we ate lunch, watched more wildlife, and ogled over the spectacular view, but our stay was brief, for a mass of storm clouds moved in unexpectedly. Even the guide was taken by surprise.
We threw on our rain clothes and no sooner did we turn to descend down the steep incline, but Armageddon broke out all around us. Winds roared, rain came at us sideways, lightning zapped the terrain hundreds of feet from where we stood and thunder shook the ground.
Before every family trip, we pray together for successful travels. We share spiritual reasons as to why we’ll stay happy, healthy and united every day, every minute and we list truths we can hold to while traveling. One of the themes we agreed to work on daily was, “Always be grateful for the good!”
As we slipped and sloshed down the mountain slope, while pummeled by rain which turned to hail, surrounded by lightening so close you could reach out and grab the bolts with your hand, and a rapidly disappearing path filled with maddening torrents of muddy water pulling our feet out from under us, I started to list all the good things happening at that moment that we had to be grateful for.
I realized that many people might think the experience was a bad one. “Why me?” they might lament. But I did not see bad or danger anywhere.
Looking back, I was filled with joy and gratitude. A smile was on my face as I enumerated all the good happening at that moment. I refused to allow my thinking to nosedive into fear and anger. This was an incredibly enriching adventure for our children and our family, I believed. But I had to keep thinking on the reasons why.
Even though trees were sparse and we frequently seemed like the closest point for lightening to reach, I knew the electric current would not touch us. God’s lightening serves useful and worthwhile purposes, I affirmed. It could not be destructive, and the divine design for mutual harmony between all of God’s creation would assure our safety and well being, I felt confident.
“Good is happening here!” I declared.
I thought about a man I was told about who suffered a severe stroke. He went from being very active to being stuck in a wheelchair, barely able to move and talk. What few words he could utter were often “Isn’t this good!” Visitors would listen in disbelief for they saw nothing good about his predicament. But he would insist, “Isn’t this good!” He was a practicing Christian Scientist relying upon Truth to heal the effects of the stroke. He fully recovered, and when he could talk again he explained that he had said, “Isn’t this good,” because he knew God was working out a good purpose in him. That he would come out of the experience, better, stronger, more spiritually minded and closer to God than ever before. And that is exactly what happened.
“What good was happening in the midst of this storm?” I pondered.
For one thing, our children were learning the value of proper preparation, to not underestimate Mother Nature, and to not be naïve about weather conditions in wilderness areas. But even more importantly, I thought, this sudden outbreak of force could be used as a life-lesson.
Surprises come forcefully in school, in business, and in family at times. If we look at them the right way, we will not dread them or capitulate to fear. We’ll look for the good happening and become a better person. This storm would serve to strengthen our children’s understanding, attitude and outlook on how to deal with adversity without letting it overcome them.
The children were learning not to fear, to trust, to be strong, to buck-up and do what needed to be done with due diligence. The storm was not evil. The lightening was not a threat. The soaking rain would not hurt us. Even the hail was bouncing off harmlessly. (Just don’t look up!) We would survive just fine, I knew for a fact. We were hiking in Love, and Love was all around. There was no danger to our well being.
We had two young llamas in training that had never had an experience like this, but they performed marvelously and fearlessly, following close on our heels each step of the way, more surefooted than we were.
The noise was so loud we could not talk amongst ourselves. We occasionally gave a thumbs-up to our guide to let him know we were okay.
Down the steep mountain slope we descended, a very united and determined party.
Twenty minutes later, the fury halted, the skies cleared and we all stood in a circle smiling and laughing with each other at our hasty retreat from above,–the slips, the falls, the mud all over us, how well the llamas performed, and the memories we’d treasure forever.
Good was happening.
After the storm
Sometimes, the onslaught of mortal mind can be fast and furious, catching us off guard, but if we keep the bigger picture firmly in view, that God reigns over all, we can find the good to be discerned and not let evil suggestions overwhelm our perspective. It’s a healing way to approach life, and it makes the going much more enjoyable.
Eli, one of our guides, and a wet llama!
Look for the good, and you’ll find it, even amidst the worst of storms.
Our three guides and their llamas