Step by step wondering how to keep his eyes open from the fatigue wishing he can lay down to rest for a minute, there is a nagging feeling inside himself to take another step. Ever so slowly, step by step, he ascends the mountain unsure of the direction he travels. There is a bend in the trail up the mountain pass and he cannot remember which direction to take. Does he keep going straight or divert from his path to a more well worn one with clear signs of use in the recent past. Stopping to think things through all his body and mind tell him is to rest before making a such an important decision. If only he remembered to grab his map before the start of his journey. He could’ve sworn the map was in his pack. Frustrated at such a careless mistake he attempts to takes time to reason out his decision of where to go next.
The reasonable side of him attempts to survey the land and plot out his course by logic. He’s done this before and it has gotten him to a dead end that cost him days of doubling back. Or how about the time when he slipped and fell from the path. That mistake ended up taking him in a circle for what seemed to him like a week, but it could’ve been less if he just took the time to pay attention. If he had the clear path back onto his current one from his fall wouldn’t have taken him so long.
Looking to the well worn path and longing for a break in his current circumstance of suffering, he decides to take the path well traveled. A couple of steps in he slips and falls to his knees, scraping them up from the small rocks. Staring down the path he doesn’t understand why he feels the need to turn around and continue on the path he was on. This is the clear choice as it is more likely he will run into the expedition that left about a week before him.
Standing back up he tries to understand this feeling deep inside of him. Running low on food and water, his every sense he has is screaming at him to take this path. He takes another step and there is a gust of wind pushing at him from the direction he started walking on this easily traveled path. With the cold biting into his bones all he could do was stare at the clouds rolling in. Feeling the storm coming in and knowing if he doesn’t make it to the second plateau soon he will not survive to attempt the next phase.
Walking for a few more steps, he gets a gut feeling to turn around. Weary and past the point of all reason, he turns around back to the bend in the trail. He takes the small path and hopes he has made the right decision. Walking for a little while the wind picks up and the temperature starts to drop. His hands start to get cold and go numb. His mind starts to confuse him with thoughts of turning around to the safe route. His stomachs starts to turn and the pain in his chest is extreme now every time he thinks about going back. Losing all his senses and ability to care about his consequences anymore he takes another step on the path his gut chose for him, not his mind.
The snow starts to fall slowly at first but it picks up in no time. The path in front of him narrows to the point where he is a shoulder with from the cliff face and the nothingness at his fingertips. Brushing the snow from his face he hugs the wall and looks up the small path. Visibility is bad and he can only see about 5 feet in front of him. Thinking to himself what else could possibly go wrong, he prays for a break and to find a place to shelter before the storm causes him to freeze to death.
Plodding ahead he walks for a couple of more minutes and can no longer feel his feet. He takes another step when all of the sudden a tingling feeling tells him to grab onto the cliff wall. Finding a hand hold saved his life as he was about to walk over the side of a 100 foot drop down the mountain. Dangling with one foot hanging over the edge he is reminded why he is to watch where he is going. Looking around he sees there is a small way up that goes for about 50 more feet and ascends upwards.
Step by step, he walks up the path to a plateau. Could it be? Did he just arrive at the place the map he looked at before starting his journey told him was a save zone? Reaching the top he walks a little further and sees what can only be described as tents being slowly covered by snow drifts. Standing about twenty feet from the first few tents he falls to his knees from fatigue. Yelling for help, he hopes someone hears him over the wind and storm that has frozen him solid.
Still yelling he starts to crawl to the nearest tent. After crawling ten feet his throat goes dry and can’t scream anymore over the wind. Feeling defeated and ready to lay down and freeze to death he hears something that will be with him for he rest of his days. Not quite placing this sound he looks up and realizes to his amazement what it is. It’s the sound of a zipper opening on the tent in front of him. A head pops out to see him on his hands and knees.
The man rushes to him and pulls him into the tent. He asks why he was out in this storm and asks if he is okay? The lost climber says he is now and asks for help. The man is all to eager to help and gets him situated, hydrated, and warm. Looking at his feet and hands, the helper says if he was out there for a couple of more hours he would have lost some of his fingers and toes. Fatigue is now overtaking him and he falls to sleep in the warm tent.
Waking up he wonders at first where he is. Sitting up in his sleeping bag, he finally remembers where he is and what happened to him. Moving to open the tent he is sore but feeling good inside. Zippering the tent open he sees the storm has broken. Putting on his jacket, gloves, and hat he steps out to the crisp mountain air. Taking a few steps way from the tent, he looks around himself. He smells it before seeing it. There people around a small pot of simmering liquid and he smiles for the first time in days. He is about to have a hot cup of soup with actual people.
Walking over to the cooking pot and the he counts eight tents in a circle on the plateau. The people welcome him and give him a cup of soup that he can only describe as heavenly given his ordeal. Between sips he begins to explain the tiresome ordeal of the past weeks journey up the mountain path.
When he gets to the part of reaching the bend in the path. He pauses as he is unable to explain the reason why he chose this way. With all honesty he says he forgot his map and was so tired he just decided to take the path that led him here because his gut feeling told him to. Feeling foolish he finished his soup and all others were silent for a while.
The man who saved him finally broke the silence. He said to him that he was lucky he took the path when he did as they discovered a rock slide covered the trial about a days walk into it, and had to take this route here. Looking from his cup to the man he remembers the events that transpired when attempting to walk down that path. His fall, the driving wind, and that nagging feeling of dread with each step is what turned him around from certain death. If he had continued to the rock slide as the storm hit with his energy gone, hypothermia would’ve overtaken him for sure.
The man said that his guardian angel must’ve been watching over him to lead him to them. Listening to the man say that they were leaving due to the storm coming, the man takes off his gloves and can’t help but finger the necklace he is wearing. It is cool to the touch but the cross in his hands warms him up inside. Realization comes to him that the only reason he’s allowed to sit here with these people is due to the feeling that led him here. If he had it his way the road well traveled would’ve been his death for reason won the battle in his mind. The feeling within him he couldn’t describe won the day though. While the others spoke on their departure, he wonders if God helped him someway up the first leg of his journey to scaling this mountain.
Watching these people look over their map he graciously accepts another cup of soup and chuckles to himself. What a help the map would’ve been for him as it was the same one he left when he started the climb. This map guided the same group to a rock slide not previously marked. What a thing plans are when we are not able to forsee what is to come but are told by the best sources it is safe as can be. Standing to prepare for the descent he will always wonder if this feeling inside of him guiding his way up will also guide him back down as the snow covered the path he took to get here.
Many questions come to mind. Does this story have a happy ending? Or is it a continuation of a series of events where people let ignorance and reasonable minded logic guide them throughout life? Would reason have saved the man from walking down a path of sure death? Would the map had saved him from falling into the slips and falls he experienced while on his journey up a well used mountain path?
Does God let people suffer a fools errand because their sense logic comes from reason? Or does God expect people to walk with Him, step by step, with the feeling of his guidance in your heart?
These questions are asked because people who use logic for everything tend to ignore the connection we have with our souls and the holy Trinity. With each step we are guided by logic and a feeling we cant altogether explain but feel is right. Whether we accept it or deny it the connection is there and all people are born with this feeling of Gods guiding hand towards our salvation.
Imagine what may happen next with the journey these people are to undertake. Does the man rely on the other peoples map to guide them down a path now covered with snow not there previously? Hoping logic and sound judgement replace a hard decision when no discernable way is given by a man made device clearly capable of failing at a moments notice? Does this did so called device or map tell you the recent anomalies nature has caused for your plans to be foiled?
It is clear to many who can see that the man was a fool to continue once realizing his own means of guidance was gone from him. Yet, he continued on with his journey saying to himself he could find his way up without guidance as it is a mountain well traveled by people. How much harm could he run into?
The moral of this story is why we feel the need to climb a mountain called life thinking we have a firm grasp on what we are undertaking with no point from which to walk towards, let alone a map that is only as good as the last person to climb with it. God has us climb the mountain of life for many reasons and most of us do not ever get to make it to the top until we are to reach our final judgment. For the select few who are as the foolish man was and feels the guidance of God in times of strife, he can attempt the climb numerous times in the course of his life’s journey up this perilous path full of unknowns from which we fall down from. The key is listening just enough to correct these blunders and mistakes to keep righting your course onto the right path towards the top of the mountain. Keeping faith in God that you, those who came before you, and those just starting their ascension can be guided by the same feeling that saved the man from his own ignorance and logic is the key in understanding the climb.
We all are born with a connection in our souls to feel guidance in our lives from the fatigue that sin brings to our mind and soul. The issue at hand is whether we are humble enough to trust that feeling to guide us through our trials and tribulations. Or are we destined to fall from Grace into the prideful ignorance we see and accept as normal due to what we consider to be the right way of doing something.
What is morally right and what is logical isn’t always on the same map. Nor is it even thought to be written in as maps are made by man to guide man. Who better to guide you up the mountain of life than that which made it to begin with? All He asks is you listen to the feeling we all were born with, help those who need it along the way, and trust that when it gets too much to bare the path will ease for all in time. I did and it has been a long perilous journey up and down his mountain of life. Which has been full of falls, missteps, and helpful hands with cups of soup to sooth my body, clear my mind, and heal my soul. This feeling has made all the difference from allowing me to fall down the mountain into a pit of hell of my own creation. But also guiding me out of it by giving me the strength to climb and the sense of purpose to keep me focused on the task at hand.
No matter where we start or finish from in this climb of life, you can always know a helping hand is there to keep you on the path of salvation. All you need to do is choose to walk to with the purpose this feeling gives you. It is promised to you that the loneliness we normally feel is gone because God is in our hearts always. We of course can’t forget His only son Jesus to keep us company along the way with stories of miracles and the ever present feeling of friendship we get by walking with him, in his image, always and forever. Amen.