Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Setting Pace

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness will go before you,

and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Isaiah 58:8-9

My husband of 44 years has a lot more experience, and a lot more stamina than I do when it comes to navigating mountain terrain.  Built for endurance, Terry spent much of his youth hiking or skiing in the Olympic & Cascade mountain ranges of Washington State.  As a teenager he scaled the heights of Mt. Rainier.

I've gained on him in recent years as my own experience has accumulated and my stamina increased.  But even today he graciously, wisely allows me to take the lead on our hikes; and for good reason.    

There are few places on earth where "the great outdoors" is as apt a description as it is in the Pacific Northwest.  It is certainly among the myriad reasons drawing us back here after our ten year sojourn in Arizona.

Years ago, when our children were no longer at home, we took to hiking.  Once we'd selected a trail and charted our course, Terry would insist I take the lead and establish our pace.  His rationale was (and is) that he could fall easily into step with the pace I set; but that I might fall behind were he to expect me to keep pace with him. 

I took very seriously my role as pacesetter (and a peculiar sense of satisfaction when I'd leave hubby in the dust behind me!).  I also learned very quickly to take a backward gander periodically to make sure I DIDN'T get too far ahead of my "expert", or forget to take much-needed breaks.

So went my early lessons in hiking along mountain trails - some of them lazy saunters; others a steep assault (mostly on my calves & shins).

I learned, and continue to learn a good many things from and about nature, and much of it in the context of hiking.  What a teacher is all of God's creation.  But the whole pacesetter thing has stirred anew in me.  It is good to set pace, but it's only good so long as you know you've got a rear guard!

It's counterintuitive to allow the slowest, or the weakest in our midst to take the lead and establish the pace.  In families, in business, in schools, in life in general we often (if not always) take the brightest and best, setting them at the forefront to establish the lead.  That's not all bad, for surely we need our role models - - unless, of course, they are attempting to leap tall buildings in a single bound, expecting those that follow to do likewise.

Steep, high, rough terraine is rarely scaled in a single bound.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 
Matthew 11:28-30

Today I am wondering how often, and in how many ways I've taken the lead with  younger ones in tow, expecting them to keep up with - even comprehend - the rigors of the climb ... my climb ... any climb?

Pacesetting is never more critical than when there's a weak one, or an unseasoned one in the equation.

Jacob said to him (Esau),
“My lord knows that the children are tender
and that I must care for the ewes and cows
that are nursing their young.
If they are driven hard just one day,
all the animals will die. 
So let my lord go on ahead of his servant,
while I move along slowly at the pace
of the flocks and herds before me
and the pace of the children ...
Genesis 33:13-14

(This bundle of thought derived from my reading on January 3 in Volume I Streams in the Desert.


Tammy@If Meadows Speak... said...

Wow. That's a lot to chew.

Loren said...


As always when you share from your heart the Wisdom pours forth. Your words are truly anointed and the Lord shares through you and speaks to us as well. Thank you for being a willing vessel!

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, Such a great post-so thought provoking! Love your photos although I well remember camping in the Cascades in summer and freezing due to the damp. Also remember hiking Mt. Rainier. You are so right with not leaving others in the dust and trudging ahead, possibly leaving others lost.
Hugs today and keep on hiking-in His creation and in His Spirit.

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

Too right! I love this Kathleen. Thank You Father Yahweh!

Nel said...

Thank you for sharing what is on your heart. I always enjoy your words of wisdom, it makes me think!
until next time... nel

Andrea said...

AMEN. I really needed to hear this spend much time soaking in these truths and trying to apply them in my own life.
Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

Rita said...

As usual, your post is very thought provoking. I've always heard that the Pacific Northwest is an absolutely beautiful place to go. My niece lived there for several years and loved it. Have a wonderful new year and enjoy all that hiking!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kathleen -

Great advice! Sometimes we expect new believers to act like seasoned Christians. The same goes for children. Reasonable expectations go a long way.

Susan :)

Beth E. said...

Wow, Kathleen...I'd never thought about this before. You'd think I would have learned from my mistakes, though, after barreling ahead in life under my own speed and strength. I got into trouble every time I did that. It took many times before I finally caught on! I still have to watch myself...and my speed. I'm better than I was, but not as good as I'm gonna get. ;-)

Thanks for these words of wisdom, friend.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I'm a strong lead... something that doesn't always bode well for my husband or my children. In recent days, I've expected (too much I think) from all of them. Normally, I catch myself and wait for them to find my stride. But lately, it seems as I'm trekking alone and mad that the rest of them aren't behind me.

I know you know what I mean.

Beautiful gift... your words. They paint a picture for me, one that I will carry around in my pocket today.

PS: You're looking might sassy in that trail photo!


2Thinks said...

This reminds me of when we used to let our youngest lead the way on our bike rides. Otherwise the young one would become discouraged as the rest of the family forged ahead faster, our legs longer and stronger etc. Sometimes the older kids couldn't ride that slow and still be happy, so they'd zoom ahead, but my husband and I always stayed behind the youngest one.

Streams in the Desert- a very good devotional- so timeless.

Your pictures from the entry below of the grandkids are fabulous! Someday I will get me one of these grandkids (huge secret- you're the only one in blogland I will tell tonight- my oldest son asked his girlfriend to marry him tonight! I'm not allowed to blog it, or facebook it, or tell anyone until they have told as many as they wish to tell themselves. I can hardly contain my happiness!)

Rebecca said...

"...while I move along slowly at the pace of the children." "A little child shall lead them." "Except you become as little children...."

There is MUCH to be taught on this subject! Thanks for bringing it up.

I SO admire your stamina in hiking mountain trails. May God continue to bring you joy in this activity and views of His creation.

LisaShaw said...

Amen and Amen Kathleen!

Especially enjoyed:

"What a teacher is all of God's creation. But the whole pacesetter thing has stirred anew in me. It is good to set pace, but it's only good so long as you know you've got a rear guard!"


"Today I am wondering how often, and in how many ways I've taken the lead with younger ones in tow, expecting them to keep up with - even comprehend - the rigors of the climb ... my climb ... any climb?

Pacesetting is never more critical than when there's a weak one, or an unseasoned one in the equation."

Thanks for the meat of the Word as well and for sharing with us! Loved the photos!

Love you.