Then I heard them.
Two boys whispering in the back seat.
"Have you ever been with anyone who has made this many U-turns?"
"No, I don't think so!"
"I think she's made five now!"
But I found Chuck-a-Rama and Sportsman's Warehouse and the mall. Eventually.
Last year at our family campout at Leatham Hollow, we went on a couple of hikes. The second hike wasn't that big but the kids saw a cave and wanted to go to it. We'd already taken them on a hike - a long hike - where we were misinformed about what was at the end of it. We finally ran into a rock mountain and had to turn around. Never did really find the meadow. We had a hard time finding the fence posts! So, honestly we owed the kids a shorter, more encouraging fun hike.
The kids raced right up the mountain. Straight up the trail. My theory is that kids can do that because that's all they see - the road in front of them. They haven't got a brain full of garbage and baggage demanding their attention and causing distraction from the main goal.
Most of the other adults shot right up the side of the mountain, too. Nellie and Krisy chose to stay behind - they had no desire to make it to the top. Me, on the other hand! Well, you know I have to be a pain! I wasn't going to be left behind.
Sometimes I think people feel obligated to help me too soon; sort of without giving me a chance to figure it out myself. I'm not that handicapped and incapacitated yet, I don't think. But that's okay. I appreciate the love and respect and caring it shows when their arms reach out to take my arm and steady my step, steering me on a safer path.
It took me awhile to get up but I did make it. Obviously I couldn't make it up the well-traveled path. Way too straight up and dusty and slick. But that's my life. Always taking the little harder way. Everything is a recipe; a project; a major undertaking.
Maybe that's why I understand my firstborn, Nathan, more than he knows. I admire and respect and covet the ones who find making the right choices and staying on the right path easy. I empathize and relate with the ones who take the rocky path.
My theory also is there is no ONE AND ONLY straight and narrow way. I think it's a personal journey for each of us based on our abilities and spiritual gifts and just exactly what we're being prepared for. Christ with all his tender mercies and his Atonement is there for us unconditionally.
So, anyway, Nathan isn't going to be left behind and let his old decrepit mother beat him up the mountain. He starts his assent. He stumbles a bit. He drops to the ground, losing his grip on his walking stick - and on the ground in general. Then he started to roll down a little. My breath stopped. I had a vision of broken artificial limb parts and bloody real body parts. But he stopped himself and started over. On another area of the mountain.
He zigzagged up the mountain. It was a slower climb but he was more sure of himself and he was in control of his movements. He made it to the cave with the rest of us.
So those of us who chose to make the hike, made it to our destination - the cave. Multiple roads and trails were taken to get there - each choosing the road that suited them best. I'm not saying that we don't have to conform at times and make ourselves take a road the Lord has laid out for us; letting go of the path that is comfortable for us. My body kind of lets go of a little twitch when someone says, "We're all on the road together, helping each other get home." I see it differently.
In my head, we're all on the mountain together. Each getting to the cave on a path laid out for us.
And, yes, still helping each other. Reaching out for the steady arm or listening for the words of encouragement or direction. Sharing an extra walking stick. Joining in a needed rest.
Watching as I possibly make a sixth U-turn.
But I'll meet you all at the cave. In due time.