Days can be filled with clerical tedium, with the immense needs of others, in meetings in which petty items are discussed ad nauseum, or in pastoral discussions about deep, fundamental questions of human existence. Many days pastors experience all of these. These are exhausting but they don’t suck.
A young white man in his twenties, I was going to change the world. The new director of an urban early childhood program dedicated to providing services within a multiracial, multicultural, mixed-economic setting, I was passionate about the mission. I was not a novice to racial tensions, having given my confession of faith in a storefront church with a strong emphasis on inclusiveness, and educated in the St. Louis city and Ferguson-Florissant school districts.
The clouds hung over the summit like a wet towel and, as if the bathroom fan were broken, my eyeglasses fogged up. My first hike to the top of Washington’s Wind Mountain was ill-timed for taking in its views of the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Adams.
There is a feeling that comes over me when I'm hiking. Even in the extremely short post-operative shuffles that I’ve been taking as I recover from having surgery several weeks ago.
I feel connected. I feel literally grounded to creation and the creator that flows through each of us—butterfly, blade of grass, snake, and human. Sometimes I pause in my hiking and just sit for a while and take in the sounds, smells, and images around me.