56: Trail to Tenderness

56: Trail to Tenderness

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

Trail to Tenderness

By Kim Harms

Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar.

~Isaiah 33:17

It was raining when we reached the trailhead. Everything in me wanted to beg Corey to turn around and take me to a hotel. But I kept quiet, pulled a poncho over my head and got in step behind my husband on the Superior Hiking Trail. I struggled with my attitude all through the wet, muddy night, wondering why in the world I had ever agreed to such a trip.

“How are you holding up?” Corey asked, as we lay side-by-side in our sleeping bags.

I wanted to scream, “How am I holding up? Are you serious? I am miserable!” But instead I replied with a curt “surviving” as I rolled over to go to sleep.

I married a man who loves adventure, and for the first several years of our lives together, he was happy to go on his wilderness explorations without me. But when he requested I don a backpack and hike a portion of the Superior Trail with him, I knew I had to say yes even though I didn’t want to. You see, a backpacking trip with my husband meant no running water and no toilets. It meant filtering drinking water from streams, fending off mosquitoes all day and sleeping in a tiny tent on the hard ground. Basically, it was the opposite of what I consider a relaxing getaway. But I love my husband, and I knew he wanted me to take part in his passion for the outdoors, so I agreed, albeit begrudgingly.

After a rainy first night, we awoke to sunshine, and God reminded me that love as He commands it is not just a warm fuzzy feeling, but a choice followed by action. So, on day two, I chose to love my husband by focusing on the good instead of the bad. That choice led to a gradual change in my attitude. I found that I enjoyed walking steps behind Corey through thick forests of trees without another soul around. I felt a sense of accomplishment when we reached the peak of Mount Trudee, and I was filled with awe when we stopped at an overlook with a view of the vast expanse of Lake Superior. When I finally quit feeling sorry for myself, I recognized what a gift it was to see Corey in all his rugged outdoor splendor. And I realized that eating a rice dinner out of a baggie on a tree stump beside my husband is actually pretty romantic.

Not only did I discover that I enjoy backpacking, but my decision to love Corey by taking part in his passion actually drew us closer together as a couple. I felt a deep tender connection to him by experiencing his enthusiasm for the outdoors, and he felt loved in a new way, knowing that I had stepped a million miles out of my comfort zone for his sake.

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