Today, I truly experience God’s handiwork. I hiked the Harding Icefield for over four hours, talking and praying to the entity that sculpted the most perfect of mountains. I asked him questions I have only ever thought to myself and never truly expected an answer to. However, the mountains, fresh air, and cold breeze never felt better. You could hear the echo of my voice as I begged for answers from who knows all.

“What am I even doing here? Why can I not find peace? What am I supposed to do with my life?”

Tears streamed down my face at the same time that blood was pouring out of a fresh gash on my leg. I was trying to understand why God had put me into such a place of disarray. Until…it hit me. God didn’t put me in my state of limitations. He had given me a positive opportunity that I had taken advantage of. He didn’t put me in my negative state; however, he did take me out of it.

As I started to reach a sense of clarity, and the top of the mountain, a whole new emotion cascaded over me: dread. Each step that I climbed higher, I felt like I was walking towards something dark.

“Turn around.”

I felt those words resonate inside my body. I pushed through and hiked on for ten more minutes, each step being heavier than before.

“Okay, God. I won’t go to the top.”

I could see the snow and glacier better than before; I took one last look and turned around.

Turning my back and taking one step in the opposite direction was all I needed to feel relief about this hike. As I continued the hike down I began to question why He had me turn around when I was so close to the top.

He wanted me to practice restraint. I wanted so badly to climb the last quarter mile of the mountain, I could see the top. So, whether or not he was keeping me from hurting myself, running into a large animal, or any other reason, I needed to practice not going for something that I wanted and trusting in Him.

After climbing back down the mountain, walking to the base of the glacier, marveling at its beauty while devouring a peanut butter and jelly, I decided it was time to begin the trek home. I threw all my trash back into my bookbag, slid on my beanie, and plugged in my headphones.

After about a mile out, I hit some construction.

I sauntered up to the man holding the sign, “STOP” was pointing in my direction.

“Excuse me, sir, what’s the protocol for me getting through here?”

“You try to get a ride!”

I looked over at the first car in line and saw three joyous looking women. I recognized their positive energy and smiling faces as a car that drove by me earlier and waved.

“Do ya’ll mind driving me through the construction?”

They all responded with a resounding no and that they were happy to drive me.

I walked around to the other side of the car and giggled as I saw that there were no open seats.

“You’ll have to sit on someone’s lap!”

“I haven’t sat on someone’s lap in forever…” I mused as I crawled onto a lady’s lap.

The short drive was filled with joyous banter, a gifted banana, and jokes about me meeting their sons. As we entered the main highway (there’s only one in Alaska), they offered to take me back into town. I agreed to let them take me as far as to the grocery store outside of where I lived.

As I crawled off this woman’s lap, they handed me a massive bag of trail mix and wished me a good summer as I walked away.

Now, if it weren’t for me deciding to not go to the top of the mountain, I wouldn’t have had such a joyous hitch hiking experience. These angels that were brought into my life for twenty minutes sealed a perfect morning for me.

I walked back home with a smile on my face, peace in my heart, and a whole new, confident perspective of my life.

Thank God for Alaska. 

Published by Nicole Clement