I went on a hike in the Rockies yesterday. My niece took us to Pence Park. It was a place she had never been, so we were all ready for an adventure. I took a picture of the map that was on the stand at the trail head, just to get a sense of where we were going.
We hit the trail and made our way up the side of the mountain. The first fork in the path prompted me to take out the map and choose the best route for our traveling cohort. My little great niece is two years old and my nephew is a young adult with Downs Syndrome, so I chose what looked like the more level path of the two.
We headed out and the path began to climb and wind its way through steep rocky passages. It got a little rough in spots. A small, flat clearing welcomed us to stop and catch our breath. I decided to see if the new hiking app I had downloaded earlier in the week was working. Sure enough it was and the GPS located us.
There was one small problem. We were in the wrong place. I switched back and forth between the photo of the map I took at the trailhead and the trail map on the hiking app. They did not match. How could my GPS be so wrong? The realization slowly spread over me. I misread the map from the beginning. The trail for the map went right and crossed the highway. We went left and started up the mountain.
We hadn’t been on the map AT ALL!
The funny thing about this story is that I actually matched my experience of the trail with the map and it made total sense to me. Imagine what would have happened if I had not taken the time to consult the GPS and the hiking trail app. We might still be out there, wrestling bear.
The first question of The Journey is “Where Am I?” This story illustrates why this is such an important place to start. Many times we go through life thinking that we are one sort of person, heading in a certain direction, when in reality we have been letting circumstances, other people, and our own pain-distortion lead us down a potentially hurtful path.