A few weeks ago I went hiking in Creux de Van. The going was treacherous; jagged rocks and slick tree roots jutting out from the muddy trail tested the tread on my tennis shoes. We counted off the fourteen switchbacks in French (a great review of cardinal numbers). When I asked our guide a grammatical question about the French word for trail (le chemin), he answered me and gave me a phrase from the Bible as an example: Jesus est le chemin, la vérité et la vie. (Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.) I repeated the words to myself as I climbed, and I began to love the narrow trail instead of seeing it as a difficult barrier. I was reminded of the passage in the Bible where Jesus instructs his followers to take the narrow path to salvation: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14). The going was difficult, but the reward at the end made it all worth it:
My heart soared as my eyes flew over the vast, open space. I love being up high; it makes me feel free in a way that I can’t explain. And to see where we had arrived: the sharp cliffs, the distant valleys, the tinkling of cow bells in the pasture, the wide grassy plain, the quiet presence of the mountain goats, the gentle wind, and the wide open sky–all accessed through a narrow way.