All around is green pasture coaxed out of dry rock and sand with the water from pretend rivers, drink corralled down from the Colorado. The sculpted form of a camel lays down in the middle of it, water stored in the bump on his back, chin on the ground, legs tucked under…humble, at ease.
My suitor didn’t know me well enough to keep me off that camel’s back. The heart of me may crave adventure, but my limbs and lungs don’t always agree. He had scaled the mountain four times before, a cinch for a golden boy. Then there was me.
Past the railroad tie steps, he rambled up the slippery rock face while I used the railing. That was the last of the shade. Sun-soaked rock bounced back heat beyond 112 degrees. I guzzled my one bottle of water and then his, and caught my breath while watching him leap onto boulders bigger than us.
Lunge. Breathe. Lunge. Breathe. I dreamed of the rescue copter, took a swig of a stranger’s water and eased around the prickle of the cactus. My hiking partner pointed up a stack of rocks, said the summit was just ahead, but in a crevice of shade too small for my frame, the bee sank its stinger into pink skin. Prick me with a fork- I was done.
Another season, another year, the path called us back. He was more than a hiking partner by now. We wore wedding rings and backpacks full of water bottles. I promised to follow him to the top, even if I lumbered while he leaped.
Muscles quivered at the summit. Wind dried dusty sweat on cheeks. He spun me in circles to take it all in then we settled on a rock to rest. But as I looked again to the west, I bolted to my feet. The sun was setting. And we hadn’t packed a flashlight.
The way down is hardest to begin with, full weight on weary bones, feet skidding over sandy boulders, momentum pulling fast. In the dark, I didn’t see how it could be done at all. My mind went back to that rescue copter. Then I looked at my husband gleaming confident.
I followed behind, naysaying all the way. We’d done only a quarter of the path by the time the sky shifted from gold to dusky red to dark. The rising moon wasn’t the spotlight I had hoped.
I looked down at the boulder under my feet and the faint sketching of the next, not sure how to move. But with every step, his voice came through shadows telling me whether to tread deep or shallow, and whether to veer right or left.
With every solid landing, I found myself walking more confidently in my husband’s guidance and seeing more clearly that the “S” word, submission, doesn’t mean letting your husband walk all over you…it means letting him walk you through difficulty, it means giving him the honor of taking care of you.
Take heart when the path is dark. Trust. Let him walk ahead, guiding, protecting. Just see how it goes. Let go, duck low through the narrow gate, a camel through the eye of the needle…and look to find the kingdom of God, even here on earth.
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This post is part of our Take Heart series. This week we’re talking about romance and we’d love to hear about how God has helped you take heart in the midst of your own struggles in singleness, married life or abandonment. Start writing today and share your post in our link-up tomorrow. And our winner of last week’s giveaway from Scarves with Heart is…Ashly Stage! Each scarf sold provides funds for short term trips benefitting HIV/AIDs orphans in South Africa.
Also linking up with this week’s “Concrete Words: The Path,” hosted by Amber Haines at The Run a Muck.