Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Shoreline Trail

When I am among the trees,
Especially the willows and the honey locust,
Equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
They give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
In which I have goodness, and discernment,
And never hurry through the world
But walk slowly, and often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
And call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
Into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
With light, and to shine."

Mary Oliver

I just found this poem. Well, I guess it found me. "To go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine." Why is it so so hard "to go easy?" Why are so many many of my days filled with small and large struggles? How do I find the grace to go easy?

Moving here was hard for me. IS hard for me. My birthday was a couple of weeks after the move and it was a bad day. Just plain bad. I was a basket case for oh, so many reasons. And in the middle of my wallowing, this thought came to me: "Get thee up to the mountain." I had been wanting to find the North Salt Lake portion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail since the move and had even driven around looking for the trailhead, but had had no luck. And somehow, on my birthday, I knew I was supposed to find that trail. But I couldn't get space in my day to get there. I couldn't find space in my head to get there.

But the next day, there it was again: "Get thee up to the mountain." The day was, if possible, even worse. My head was spinning with frustration and a little bit of rage. Two of my kids were still sick at home for the second week straight. And I was going to have my nephews and nieces to stay the night, and my brother Chad was coming to hang out, and I didn't know how to get out of my bad state. So I decided that I'd listen to the prompting and do my best to force enjoyment of the gorgeous fall day we had. Also, two two-year-olds do better outdoors than cooped up indoors. So I looked online for directions to the trail and off we went.

And when we had walked less than a quarter mile on the trail, all of the crap rolling around in my head just disappeared. No lie. It just left. And I found myself laughing and looking forward to life for the first time since the move. I started seeing years ahead of my family with the trail for company, with walks and hikes and snowshoeing and photography and memories. It was like hope had been restored, and I knew that I'd been given grace. Pure grace.

The little boys threw rocks and played with mud. Chad, Kate, and Josh walked on into the yellowing grass. And then President Uchtdorf walked by and commented on what a beautiful day it was. (Josh was excited to discover when we returned to the trailhead that President Uchtdorf drives an Audi.) And we were all happy.

I returned the next morning for a long run. I decided to trail run the hills, and they were STEEP. But as I hit the last crest, the MOMENT I hit the last crest, the sun rose over the peak and shone directly on me. It was another moment of pure grace, and the spirit told me that God is mindful of me, that he loves me and wants me to be happy, and that I will be happy on the trail.

And I have been. It saves me, and near daily. It has become a holy place for me. While I'm there, I'm reminded that “It’s simple,...and (I) too have come Into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine."

If only I could carry that knowledge with me during the rest of my day. I'm working on it...


The Dunham Family said...

That was a great post. When I run in the beauty of nature it is easier to remember the grace of God and feel the spirit. It is such a calming spirit.

I love President Uchdorf. If it is not horrible to have favorites..he would be my favorite. He is so compassionate in the way he talks, so loving and forgiving. So neat you saw him!

I seriously want to run on that trail. Maybe one day we can meet up. I am trying to heal an injury, no running for awhile. So maybe in the future.

Danielle said...

Great post, Kerri! I have almost the same feeling running in Heber/Midway. I say almost because the cold drives me indoors too much this time of year.

Lara said...

This is so true. I loved reading it. My patriarchal blessing talks about looking to the hills and finding God's love for me. And it's true, nature has God's love for us in it all over the place.

Amber said...

You are so lucky to have that gorgeous Utah countryside out your backdoor. There is your therapy! And to run into GA's now and again? Wow.

The poem was beautiful. I think everyone struggles with "going easy" and just letting happiness into their lives even on the worst days. Those bad days keep coming, and now you have your trail to save you on those days!

Gaylene said...

Elder Uchtdorf--wow what a wonderful experinece to have not just you, but the kids run into him too! I have had a few opportunities to talk with him and THIS man has so much compassion, is funny, and is truly called of God.
And I love the poem.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!