On Sunday I drove out to Palmetto State Park to go hiking. When I stopped in at the park ranger's office, I was told, "We had seven inches of rain yesterday, so it's not a good idea to go hiking. It will be awfully muddy." Well, I had already committed myself to this adventure. I had driven a ways and had layered on the sunscreen. I needed this. I was craving it. And, wouldn't it be a wonderful time for me to talk to God? So, hiking I went.
Trail number one. This starts off down a steep hill. Mud? What mud? Oh, there it is. And there I am surfing down the hill. I can grab onto a tree branch just enough to stop me so I don't end up in the ER. That's it for me for the hilly trail. I'll try the flat ones. I slurp my shoes out of the mud and slowly make my way back to the top.
Trail number two. I go a little ways. It's muddy, but shoot! I love mud in America that is good old-fashioned-just-mud mud. No problem. And then I get to a big hole in the trail. A perfect place for pigs to wallow. I hear the lines from "A Bear Hunt": Can't go over it. Can't go under it. Can't go around it. Can't go through it. But, believe me I tried all of those. And finally gave up and turned around.
Trail number three. This one's not so bad. Just a little muddy, but parts of it are dusted with pebbles and gravel. I can walk on them. However, I just have to stop every three minutes to clean off my shoes. The layers of mud gravel mud gravel mud gravel are adding inches to my height. Maybe this is where high-heals came from. Useful for a night out, not so much for hiking. Plus, I'm kicking up the gravel somehow and it is stinging the back of my legs. But I am determined. I will hike.
Trail number four. Leads off of number three. Beautiful! Lush vegetation nourished by the last few days of rain. Easy, sweet trail. Until I reach the billabong. I am now surrounded by flies. I feel malaria oozing through my blood. Is this quicksand? Am I going to sink to my death? I finally make it through and am a mess.
My shoes are muddy; my white shirt is now brown; my face is smeared; my arms and calves are battered from the gravel and all the trees I had to hug.
And the whole time I was thinking, Why exactly did I not listen to that park ranger? Why didn't I just walk on the paved trails?
How often does the Holy Spirit warn me about something and then I do it anyway? I've already invested too much into it. It is what I should do. It is what I want to do.
And how often do I come out muddy? Every single time.