U-Turns and ZigZag Trails

I had two of my grandsons, Tyler and Carter, Granny Buck Shopping awhile ago. They wanted to go to Ogden, which is okay. I’m familiar enough with the “regular” stops. It didn’t help that it rained almost the whole time but I even handled that quite well…considering. As has been mentioned many times in my life, however, I am not….I repeat NOT….cut from the same cloth as cab drivers or bus drivers or tour guides. I have no internal compass. Well, maybe I do but it doesn’t sync with getting around in the world.

And the GPS on my Smart Phone….well, that’s another thing altogether! Almost as directionally dysfunctional as I am. But we did okay. There were a few mistakes and retracings.

Then I heard them.

Two boys whispering in the back seat.

“Have you ever been with anyone who has made this many U-turns?”

“No, I don’t think so!”

“I think she’s made five now!”

But I found Chuck-a-Rama and Sportsman’s Warehouse and the mall. Eventually.

Last year at our family camp out, we went on a couple of hikes. The second hike wasn’t that big but the kids saw a cave and wanted to go to explore.

We’d already taken them on a hike – the first hike and a long hike – where we were misinformed about a beautiful meadow for playing and picnicking that was at the end of the trail. We finally ran into a rock mountain and had to turn around. We were all let down. Trusting children. Expecting to find exactly what we told them would be at the end of the trail. As wise and aged adults, we tend to accept – I don’t know if I’d call it disappointment – but we’re used to things not always working out the way we planned at the onset. Sometimes we forget to help our children have experiences where the outcome is not as planned…but realize it’s still okay. Maybe even better. Maybe not. But we make the best of it and move onto the next trail.

Given this particular situation and the amount of children of various personalities and dispositions we were dealing with, we honestly owed them a shorter, more encouraging fun hike.

The kids raced right up the mountain. Straight up the trail. My theory is that kids can do that because that’s all they see – the road in front of them. They haven’t got a brain full of garbage and baggage demanding their attention and causing distraction from the main goal.

Most of the other adults shot right up the side of the mountain, too. A couple of the moms chose to stay behind – they had no desire to make it to the top. Me, on the other hand! Well, you know I have to be a pain! I wasn’t going to be left behind.

Sometimes I think people feel obligated to help me too soon; sort of without giving me a chance to figure it out myself. Yes I’m Grandma and older and parts don’t always work as originally designed or there’s pain but I’m not that handicapped and incapacitated. Yet. But that’s okay. I appreciate the love and respect and caring it shows when their arms reach out to take my arm and steady my step, steering me on a safer path.

It took me awhile to get up but I did make it. Obviously I couldn’t make it up the well-traveled path. Way too straight up and dusty and slick. But that’s my life. Always taking the little harder way. Everything is a recipe; a project; a major undertaking.

Maybe that’s why I understand my firstborn, Nathan, more than he knows. I admire and respect and covet the ones who find making the right choices and staying on the right path easy. I empathize and relate with the ones who take the rocky path.

My theory also is there is no ONE AND ONLY straight and narrow way. I think it’s a personal journey for each of us based on our abilities and spiritual gifts and just exactly what we’re being prepared for. Christ with all his tender mercies and his Atonement is there for us unconditionally.

So, anyway, Nathan isn’t going to be left behind and let his old decrepit mother beat him up the mountain. He starts his assent. He stumbles a bit. He drops to the ground, losing his grip on his walking stick – and on the ground in general. Then he started to roll down a little. My breath stopped. I had a vision of broken artificial limb parts and bloody real body parts. But he stopped himself and started over. On another area of the mountain.

He zigzagged up the mountain. It was a slower climb but he was more sure of himself and he was in control of his movements. He made it to the cave with the rest of us.

So those of us who chose to make the hike, made it to our destination – the cave. Multiple roads and trails were taken to get there – each choosing the road that suited them best. I’m not saying that we don’t have to conform at times and make ourselves take a road the Lord has laid out for us; letting go of the path that is comfortable for us. My body kind of twitches just a tad when someone says, “We’re all on the road together, helping each other get home.” I see it differently.

In my head, we’re all on the mountain together. Each getting to the cave on a path laid out for us.

And, yes, still helping each other. Reaching out for the steady arm or listening for the words of encouragement or direction. Sharing an extra walking stick. Joining in a needed rest.

Watching as I possibly make a sixth U-turn.

But I’ll meet you all at the cave. In due time.

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