Light the Next Step (and trust the Guide for the journey)

View from the top of La Nariz del Indio, Guatemala. Lighting up the boot heels worked – we found our way!

Single file, we trudged through the darkness.

Silence surrounded us, punctuated only by the strained breath of those not used to trekking up a mountain in darkness.  We’d never been on this trail before, and other trails branching off in different directions reminded us to stay closely behind the guide.  Our guide, Miguel, tromped ahead in his knee level rubber boots, grinning broadly whenever hit by the beam of a flashlight and tramping effortlessly along at our pace, at times dropping back to check on the slowest and then jogging ahead to point the way.

I hadn’t been hiking in a long time – not up a mountain anyway.

I live in Kansas.  The elevation and incline were taking their toll, but I doggedly kept behind the guide, my breath growing shorter with every intake.

I also wasn’t used to hiking in the dark.  Miguel had no flashlight – knowing the trail by memory.  The rest of us in the silent group traipsing through the pre-dawn time had a wide variety of light.  My daughter carried her phone that lit up the trail around her feet.  Another, Victor, carried a lantern that flickered with each swing but didn’t lend much assistance to finding the trail.  I had a pak-lite; a light invented for hiking in darkness and for ease of carrying.  It’s tiny and I always have it in my backpack.  So even though we hadn’t planned on this hike, I had my little light and it lit up just enough ahead of me to keep the guide’s feet in my view.  Another lady had a big heavy flashlight with a weak beam that made it hardly worth the weight.  The stars were brilliant overhead and while the peace was amazing, the complete darkness beyond the feeble circles of light made for slightly eerie hiking.

None of us were worried – we were headed as high as we could go in order to watch the sunrise over the volcanic mountains around Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

The trail switch backed up the mountain and tourist tennis shoes slipped and slid up the incline.  I stayed as close as I could get to the guide as my eyes could see nothing beyond his shadow.  Labored breathing now punctuated the darkness – my labored breathing.  I couldn’t catch my breath for some strange reason and I began to hear a bit of a whine to my gasps for breath.

I trained my tiny light forward, focusing on the those rubber-boot-heels and trudged on, blessing the family who had gifted me with my pak-lite.  Those boot-heels began to mean the world to me.

Silence continued as I followed those boots up another steep section, tripping over rocks and roots.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet

 And a light unto my Path.

The words sang through my brain.  I couldn’t see the trail nor the top of the mountain.  The cliffs below or the coffee plants mixed in the trees just beyond the edge didn’t become visible until the hike back down.

All I could see were the heels of my guide.  My guide who ran this trail four or five times a day,  who knew ALL the trails on this mountain as well as he knew the faces of his children.  The guide who jogged back along the line to make sure all followed safely behind him.  I pursued those heels over a hole and up another switchback.

There are lots of decisions to make in my life.  I like to have a plan – to know the future.  I prefer to have everything neatly packaged and gift-wrapped before I commit to anything.  If only I could have a million-candle-watt spotlight that will whoosh down the trail and light up the trees on all sides and blind any animal in its path, and reveal any scary spots. Instead, I have a pak-light.  I have a Word that tells me to trust the feet of my Guide, who knows my life Path like He knows the faces of His children. 

I have a tiny but mighty light that illuminates my path only one step at a time, but as long as I can step in each footprint left by my Guide, I can stay on the right trail.


And when we climbed around the last corner and I grabbed onto rocks and pulled up the last steep part and we rounded the corner we could see the slightly glowing horizon where the sun was preparing its arrival.  We stood entranced, breathing hard, but victorious while Miguel grinned in pride of his mountain and view.  We watched the sun rise behind the silhouettes of the volcanos and the rays of warmth reached across the tranquil waters of the lake, welcoming us to a new day.

By trusting the Light and following carefully in the steps of our Guide, we CAN reach the top and experience victory!

By trusting the Light and following carefully in the steps of our Guide, we CAN reach the top and experience victory!

Trust the Guide to light your path! #inspirememonday #lightuntomypath Click To Tweet

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1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

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I'm joining my friends @blestbutstrest and @caregiver mom for an #inspirational link up. Check out the great stories! Click To Tweet

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