By Guest writer, Michelle Wyrick
The Grand Canyon is a very big place. Most people don’t get past the rim or a few hundred feet in the canyon. I’ve made it to the bottom and back twice … in my late forties. The last trip we not only went down to Phantom Ranch, but up and over to Phantom Creek. My husband described this hike as straight up, some contouring and straight down. That sums it up nicely.
Going up was hard. The trail was really more like a goat trail and looking up, you could not see the top of the tonto let alone the top of the canyon. Standing on the trail and looking straight ahead you could see dirt … the mountain in front of you, that was all. You took it one step at a time until the pianos. These were massive boulders shaped like pianos near the top. They were my favorite part of the trip.
To say the trail down to Phantom Creek was steep is like saying the Canyon itself is a small dip in the landscape. This was the hardest physical thing I had ever done in my life, with the possible exception of giving birth. If you looked ahead, you couldn’t see the bottom or even the trail. The trail itself was loose gravel and earth that gave way with every step.
My pack was too heavy for me and a bit loose. It shifted with every step. I just knew it would throw me off balance and I would fall head long to the bottom, ending my trip and my life. I fell twice, once I landed with my arms pinned under me and my poles in the air, but neither time was I really hurt. As soon as my husband unpinned me I jumped up and laughed it off, but it was getting to me. He kept trying to tell me we were almost there and tried to show me the goal, but when I would look my heart would sink within me. It was so far and so straight down and I couldn’t see the trail, let alone a route that could possibly be safe.
Then suddenly, I could do nothing but cry. I told my husband to give me a minute to sit down and cry and then I could go on. I did just that. It was really less than two minutes, but it was enough to clear my head and renew my courage.
I stood up and looked at only the trail in from of me. I kept saying to myself, “I can only do what is in front of me. I can only do what is in front of me …” over and over. Just a few steps at a time. Then I could truly see the creek at the bottom and the campsite that would be my rest. It was so close … I could finish this thing.
I had known all along that the creek was there, that it was only a matter of time and energy before I got there and could rest. But, I couldn’t see it coming down. It was overwhelming. It was impossible. I could only do what was in front of me. But, that rest was waiting right there for me all along.
I’m struggling now. Life is full of hard, heart breaking things when you are the parent of adult children. All I can do is pray … all I can do is what’s in front of me. God keeps bringing this descent to my mind when I cry out in pain to Him. I want to count it all joy, but at this moment, all I can do is sit and cry. I know I’ll have to get up in a minute and keep going. I know there is rest waiting for me and it will be wonderful. But, all I can do right now is what is in front of me.
My God has been with me through the hardest things in my life. I know He is there for me now. He is holding me up or I would be crashing down the mountain. I’m not saying He makes it easy. I don’t think sanctification is easy. It’s very hard. Just like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, He has taken my burden at the Cross … but, I feel it sometimes. Like it will tip me over and make me fall. I have to sit down and remember that I no long carry it. And I know He has me, He’s with me, He’s holding onto my hand, has me in His arms and is often carrying me.
He’s prepared a rest for me and it’s waiting for me. There is the joy.