I recently went to Sleeping Bear Dunes in northern Michigan with my husband and kids. While most of the trip was anything but picturesque, the hike up the dunes was a pure delight, but not in the way I expected.
Most of the trip was spent swatting mosquitos, trying to dry out stuff that got wet from the rain, and keeping two young boys from annoying me to the point of insanity. I’ve seen pictures of the dunes and heard so much about it. I was picturing something so grand in my head.
It looked like this in my mind:
and the kids would be like:
But instead it felt a little more like this:
and even this:
(yes, that’s Mars)
So what’s the point of describing my fun-filled “vacation,” you ask? Well, something happened that I didn’t expect. As I trekked up and down those dunes, I gained an insight. While looking at the footprints in the sand of those that had gone before me I told myself “just put one foot in front of the other.”
I decided to just live in that moment and keep my eyes focused 2 feet in front of me.
While I had my ultimate goal in mind of reaching the top of each hill, by focusing on what was just in front of me, I made it step by step. While I didn’t make it all the way to the beach (what they DON’T tell you is that it’s a several mile intense hike, well maybe they do tell you but I just didn’t do enough reading on the subject, okay?), I did make it much further than I thought I could.
The footprints of others gave me hope, my focus was clear, and when my energy failed me, I stopped and took in the scenery. It was a truly beautiful experience to be part of the quietness of the sand, the sky and the breeze. What a different world it would be if we could bring this analogy to our daily life, health struggles, and relationships.
Just like on the dunes, in life we never know what may be over the next hill, but we keep going, following those that have gone before us. With determination we put one foot in front of the other until we get there. And it’s not about making it the whole way without any hardships, it’s about not giving up. You see, some people never even start the journey, so even if we can’t do it perfectly or make it to the beach, at least we tried. And our footsteps will be there for those who follow us.