Visions of Life from Hiking in the French Alps

Wild roses in French AlpsAs I reflect on our trip to France last summer,
it occurs to me that life for most of us is very much like mountain climbing. Lupines. French AlpsUsing a wondrous afternoon of hiking in the Alps for inspiration and examples, may I share a few of the ideas that occurred to me during that climb? Paul's Hiking in French Alps. Starting the hike#1. I realized that, as much as possible, I (we) need to hike in company with others who share similar values & purposes if we really want to reach our goals. Magnificent French AlpsWhere is it we’re going? What is it that we want to accomplish? Photographing Wild lilies in the French Alps#2. We need to choose friends who share our vision…Hot and Sweaty after our climb in the Alpswho will climb and sweat with us, Hiking in the Alps. Zach had my back!watch our backs, Beautiful views in the French Alpsand rejoice with us when we succeed.Wild boar droppings#3. Keep close. There is safety in numbers (from wild boars, for example) Wild boar crossing #4. Listen to those who are wiser and more experienced and learn from them. Hiking up the path toward the trailhead. French Alps#5. We’re much more likely to have problems if we lag behind. Blue Flax in French AlpsI slightly twisted my ankle near the beginning of our trip
(taking photos, of course), Muddy going past waterfalls in the Alpsand had it not been for Fearless Leader’s shepherd heart,
I might have really injured myself on the rocky terrain and muddy paths! Hiking in the Alps#6. Stay on the path! Wandering off or falling off could be deadly. Hiking in the French Alps#7. Don’t walk too fast! Take time to look up and savor the grandeur,Purple Coumbine. French Alpsand take time to notice the joyful beauty dancing beside us. White wildflowers in French Alps#8. Look down too, lest we carelessly trample the tiny treasures at our feet.Roman Road pass#9. Keep in mind that others have traveled the path before us, Roman Road cuttingsand take time to honor them for the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made. Roman Road cutting through AlpsIt’s so easy to be critical of our forebearers, but we couldn’t do what we do todayPicture of Alps above Mantel without the undying resolve and accomplishments of those who’ve gone before.Lake in French Alps at Twilight#10. At the end of the day, allow ourselves to (or make ourselves) stop and rest!Alpine Village in French Alps#11. Come to peace with our bodies’ needs for food & sleep so we don’t burn out. The Old Rugged Cross above Des 2 Alpes#12. Best of all, come to peace with the knowledge that life, health,
and this beautiful world are all gifts from God, so let’s take time to worship Him.  Cross in French Alps“The Old Rugged Cross”
(by George Bennard, 1913)

“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

“Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.”