I did something really foolish back in April 2007 – I went hiking alone, and it could have been fatal. Everybody knows you shouldn’t hike alone, and to make matters worse I went about a quarter mile off the trail to get a better look at a creek. As I was crawling down the bank I suddenly slipped and cracked my head open. When I opened my eyes I could see blood on the ground, so I grabbed a t-shirt out of my backpack and quickly wrapped it around my head to try and stop the bleeding. I could feel my upper back getting really stiff and I thought, “I better get out of here and back to the main trail.”
Thankfully, as soon as I got back to the trail I met a woman walking her dogs and she agreed to help walk me out of there. Can you imagine what she must have been thinking when she saw me? Some bloody guy coming out of the bushes asking her for help! Thank God she was there though. I was beginning to worry about getting out of there as my back continued to stiffen up, and I wasn’t sure if I was all there mentally.
We had to walk about an hour back to the parking lot. I ended up having to take an ambulance out of the park. I got 13 staples and 3 stitches in my head and another 3 stitches in my elbow. My wife and my friends continue to give me a hard time about how stupid I was to go hiking alone, let alone go off the trail. To say the least, it could have been a lot worse.
Changing gears here…I want to ask the question;
Is it just as dangerous to pursue the contemplative prayer journey alone?Of course, the potential dangers are totally different, but I would have to say, from all I have read, this is a journey that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and it IS one that should be taken with a friend, mentor, or spiritual director, if you can find one.
I have had the good fortune of finding a spiritual director and I can’t say enough about how wonderful it has been to meet with someone on a regular basis to learn how to pray from someone elses perspective, discuss what God is doing in my life, and figuring out what is keeping me from fully trusting and accepting God's love.