Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Confirmations for "The Thing"

Most people will likely think in life - hey, if I want to do something, I'll go do it. But I am a big believer in confirmations. That is, having people agree and support my endeavors, especially the BIG ones in life. And for me, thru hiking something as huge and wild as the AT required confirmation and support from my husband, family, and friends - all pointing to the final comfirmation - "Is this okay with you, God?"

At first my husband was against it. He didn't like me gone for so long. He didn't like the idea of me cutting my hair even for the journey or being out there without him. Of course at first I was devastated. I know some women would think - humph. So what? You are a liberated female, do it anyway. But I don't see it that way. I believe that I need the support of my husband so that I could have the freedom and the peace I need to make this awesome journey. So I waited. We did some section hikes together on the AT. He discovered the trail community and really liked it. And from that moment on, he said yes. Since then he has bought me gear. An AT wall map. An AT sticker for our van. AT bandana maps. He has supported me. Going over logistics when he can join me. And even what he will do while we are seperated.

The next confirmation was more spiritual. I had shared with the wife of the pastor at our church about my dream. She listened but didn't say much one way or the other about it. But one Sunday I came to church, kind of depressed. I was very anxious the evening before, saying to myself it was silly to even consider a thru hike, think of the dangers, the troubles, the pain, no comfy bed, my bad ankle, the logistics, my writing, how I can possibly do this for six months??? Anyway, I arrived at church and the pastor's wife came over and said, "Guess what, we have a visitor here and she had just finished hiking the entire Appalachian Trail! I couldn't believe it. What are the odds of this - a 2,000 miler and a gal no less, visiting the church that Sunday and especially with the doubts I had the night before? I immediately cornered the gal, talked to her a bit, got her e-mail address. She has not been back to church since that Sunday, but I believe it was a huge confirmation and yes, a calming influence as well on my multitude of fears.

The next confirmation came in the form of my family. My brother left an encouraging note on my guest book once saying - If anyone can do it, you can. Then I had my mom and dad here for Christmas. I got my great tarp tent then from my husband and a bandana that says "Hiker to Town." My parents have known, of course, of my desire to do this since I was little. I kind of broke down then after getting all these great gifts. I told them this hike is something I wanted to do for so long and I wanted to do it next year. And they said - well, go for it! Do it now, while you can. You never know what can come up later. I was amazed.

And then today. I had a surprise pre-birthday breakfast thrown for me by my great friends. One friend there knew about my dream - which she called "The Thing" and had given me money to buy what I needed for my thing. Everyone there, of course, wanted to know what that thing was. And so I told them my plans for thru hiking in 2007. And everyone was interested. One of the women even gave me a great book about living as though you are dying. That is, get out there and do it! And she had no idea I was even going to do this hike.

Wow, what can I say? I have received some wonderful confirmations for a very lofty goal. But most of all - these confirmations point to the fact that God says - Hey, it's okay to do this. This "thing."

And with God's help, I will.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Lauralee... the thru-hikers I have read and the journals I have pored over in 2002 and 2003 all say the same thing: the AT is at much mental as physical. Some people who have been is rather poor shape starting out actually did better than others who were "running" the trails in sandals-- all because of their mental focus to "get to Maine."

The journals indicate that the physical conditioning will come on the tail. After the first 90 miles, according to one author, you should be in pretty good shape. By the time you hit the Shennandoah, you should be able to take anything the trail can dish out-- which is plenty.

I don't mean to minimize the challenge. One author stated that the AT is never "easy," it's just "less hard."

I think the support you mentioned in your January 11 post is very positive. The "omens are good" as I am fond of saying, and with a go-to-it positive mental attittude, you will stride past those who are doing the AT because it's "there," or it's "kewl" or those out on a lark for the mere thrill of it all.