Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Saturday, July 24th I experienced the above verses first hand. I will confess that it was embarrassing for me, but also a lesson in trust and letting go of vanity. While hiking the Rich Mountain Loop trail in Cades Cove with my hiking small group, my knee started to ache and then full on pain and locking up. One of our leaders let me use her ace bandage to wrap my knee and try to give it some support, also she let me use her walking sticks. When you are in the middle of the woods there isn’t much else to do but keep moving forward.
The more elevation we gained the more my knee hurt, to the point at times the pain made me cry. As we started down, I hit points I just had to stop. One of the women in our group is a TBI agent. She looks at me and asks how much I weigh. I tell her and we move on. Then she looks at me and says, “I’m going to carry you.” I will admit it wasn’t what I expected and I was embarrassed to be seen as so weak. She handed her stuff to one of the women and she told me to get on her back. I admitted defeat and got on. It wasn’t an easy task to carry a 137+ pound woman while going down a mountain trail with roots and rocks to navigate. This amazing woman was being the hands and feet of Jesus. She shared my burden and carried me.
Part of the group went ahead of us to try and find a ranger to help, and three women stayed with me. We worked to get to a cabin on the trail. It was slow and difficult, but we made it to the cabin. Then after waiting about 30 minutes, two of the women headed to the end of the trail to join the rest of the group. (There is no cell signal in Cades Cove.) One of the group leaders stayed with me at the cabin. After another 30 minutes a ranger drove up.
As the ranger is walking towards us, I say to my group leader, “Is that Wes?” (Wes was a group pastor at our church and had been our small group leader.) As we were thanking the ranger, we learned his name is Les and he is originally from the area of Pennsylvania as my family. It is a small world.
During the hike, we kept saying we have some lessons to learn here. We saw a bear, two deer, toads, snakes, snails, and beautiful views – all God’s creations. We were in community together in God’s creation. I learned that I need to listen to my body, and to not be afraid or embarrassed to ask or accept help. God is with us every moment, even carrying us when we don’t ask.