Sunday, March 08, 2009


This Trail hike and its preparations seem so huge.... sometimes I wonder if it's the right thing. We will be hard-pressed for the 5-6 months I don't work. Sometimes I wonder if.... well, if I have the right.

But then things happen. Like a couple Sundays ago when, in church, I got a nice ditty bag and EARPLUGS.

Today something came from church, too. Nothing material. Just a reminder that I have the right to realize my hopes and dreams.

The church is Lutheran, with a strong Southern Gospel flavor. It's the most amazing hybrid and I love it!! Hand-clapping, dancing, arm-raising, hallelujah, then WHOOSH.... we're back through some kind of demographic warp to the Lutheran liturgy again. I am the only white person in the congregation unless there are guests. No one seems to notice.

Anyway, in the Lutheran Communion service there's a prayer sung after collection of the offering, that goes like this:

"Let the vineyards be fruitful, Lord,
And fill to the brim our cup of blessing.
Gather a harvest from the seeds that were sown
That we may be fed with the Bread of Life.
Gather the hopes and the dreams of all,
Unite them with the prayers we offer now.
Grace our table with Your presence,
And give us a foretaste of the feast to come."

It was the collection plate held up in offering with the words, "Gather the hopes and the dreams of all, unite them with the prayers we offer now," that struck me today. This Trail hike has been a hope and dream of mine for 42 years. I feel it was included in the "hopes and dreams of all" that were offered and united with the prayers we offered.

This is not our home. We are visitors to this Earth, we're here for but a short while. While here, there are things we want to do, things we want to see. When someone is visiting with us, or when we're visiting with someone, we want to help them do and see what they hope to, while they're with us. I think it may be the same way with God, the Host of our visit to earth. He wants us to experience the pleasures of the trip and to be able to do the things that are of interest to us. He's a good Host.


bunnygirl said...

I think black churches have the right idea. If you really believe that Christianity is about good news, why not sing, dance, and clap your hands? White churches too often have a feeling of "we're doomed." Black churches more typically have a feeling of "we're saved!"

Steve said...

Like Bunnygirl said, church is a place to sing, dance, clap your hands. Why the gloom and doom stuff?
Sounds like you're getting the last minute jitters, Ellie. Your husband supports you, you've done the preparations, all of us who read your blog are cheering with envy.
"Just do it"


Dee said...

We are going to be praying for you while you are gone... fresh encounter with God... and showing Him to the people you meet. Would you send me your address by email... you have my email address.

Caitlin said...

I stumbled upon your blog while looking for a recipe for homemade energy gel, and I noticed that you were starting a thru - hike of the AT. I read a little about your progress preparing, and this most recent post.

This may not mean much, because you don't know me from Adam, but I wanted to tell you that you do have the right to want (perhaps even need) a trip like this.
My husband and two of his friends all finished thru hikes last year, blowing the statistics about not finishing out of the water. Two finished in 4 months.

They have another friend that started just a week and a half ago, placing me at Amicalola Falls State Park saying goodbye alot lately.

The day my husband left and the day he finished were the two proudest days of my life. Not only because he did it, but also be because we did it (although I never got to do any hiking), and came out stronger because of it.

It changed our lives for the better, and it wasn't bad to begin with...Many people do the trail because they are looking for something (many times for themselves). All of my guy friends were doing the trail because they were looking for the experience of being on the trail. They did it because they wanted to be part of an elite few.

And they made it because they were prepared. Their packs were light (24lbs with a weeks worth of food and daily water supply). They had food sent to them, saving an ENORMOUS amount of money. And when they came to a town they stopped in, had a slice of pizza, restocked and walked a mile or two out of town, to spend more time actually on the trail.

It was the best experience of their lives... and everyone deserves to have that. So do it, and enjoy it because you deserve it.

Ellie Hamilton said...

Caitlin -- thank you for your encouraging comment! You left no contact info.... can you email me? Hopefully you'll come back and read this! My email address is on my profile page.