Any hikers out there? My boys and I hiked the celebrated Inca Trail in Peru a few years ago. That was one rugged, uneven climb. Nestled deep in the Andes mountains are the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. The path is lined with large stepping stones laid by the ancient Incas themselves.
The most difficult day of the hike included a rugged breach in the mountains with a cryptic name—Dead Woman’s Pass. At one point you find yourself at nearly 14,000 feet; the air is so thin that you are instructed to stay at that elevation for less than an hour—then keep moving. It is the most dreaded point on the trail. While it is the most physically challenging day because of the elevation, steep inclines, and exposure to all kinds of weather conditions — it is also the most rewarding. The view is spectacular and the feeling of accomplishment is intense.
The high road, the hardest road, was the most satisfying.
You see where I’m going, I’m sure. Folks, the easy roads in life are congested, crowded with humanity. The level road is chocked full of travelers who take the easy footpath—but they know very little of the thrill of really living. Seems like the high road, the hard path, while much more isolated and can feel oh-so lonelier, also makes one feel truly alive and fulfilled once it is chosen.
Spending our resources on ourselves—the level path—while easy, prohibits one from knowing the deep joy of sacrificial, generous giving. Taking the high road often involves laser-focused intentionality–placing others ahead of ourselves; setting ourselves aside and sacrificing for our spouse, children, neighbor, coworkers…and enemies.
Telling people what is on our mind when we are angry or annoyed is very popular today. That route is chock-full of travelers. But, how thrilling to take the High Road and enjoy the scenery that masses of life-hikers will never appreciate. To know genuine contentment that results from being slow to speak and quick to listen—really listen. Check out James 1:19. Many don’t know how to take the High Road of listening, being fully present for another human being.
I once heard a piece of advice that has saved my bacon many times over the years—times I did not know what to do. Someone once said, “When you don’t know what to do, take the high road.” Man. Great advice. Try it—I think it might serve as a nice set of stabilizing trekking poles as you journey life’s rugged path in 2020.
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