- Posted March 8, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
My Battle of Jericho
By Carla Charter
My daughter often jokes with me that I don't just pray I have an ongoing one-sided conversation with the almighty on a regular basis. As a mother of three children all with a variety of issues comments like “Really did you have to send that my way right now?” and “I could use some ideas here!” are often sent skyward at my house.
However what's happened since the New Year has been more personal, it's been what I have been calling my very own Battle of Jericho. It started simply enough, then again it always does when I get led down a new path. It started with a desire to get in shape and lose five pounds. The weight was easy, it was just a matter of staying away from the junk food and my morning doughnut for a while and I knew it would come off as easily as it had before. The thought that I had always wanted to do a long distance hike popped into my mind, as it had several times over the years, and I quickly made sure it popped right out again.
Being January I decided one day to begin on my resolution to organize. Starting with my desk, I filed and put away papers when I stumbled across a list of ADA Community needs from a committee I had been on several years prior. Many of these needs were at our churches who sincerely want to make the needed changes. However with very few grants available to the churches for expensive renovations and our area struggling economically as it was the money was just not there. At least not the large amount of money needed for these types of projects. As I filed the list away I thought, a fundraiser, like a walk would be needed to raise that kind of money.
Martin Luther King Day found me at Mission Covenant Church in Orange, Ma., for our community's annual Day of Service. After lunch we went upstairs and I noticed the beautiful Chairlift the church had, which took those with disabilities from the first floor to the sanctuary and back down. A chairlift which cost the church about $10,000. Again the list of ADA needs gnawed at me. That night the idea of a long distance hike again came to mind, followed quickly by the thought, “Yeah no, I don't think so!”
As I do every morning, I read the Upper Room Devotional, the next day. Not having a chance to get a new one yet, I was re-reading my November-December issue. When I opened it that day I had to chuckle, the daily devotional was titled, 'Taking a Hike in the Darkness.' “Yup no, soooo not happening,” I thought again.
Over the next week the idea kept nagging at me like a puppy pulling at my pant leg. Each time I thought of it, I quickly reminded myself that this idea was not practical, not doable, and certainly not by a middle-aged, decidedly un-athletic mother of three.
At the end of the week I was absentmindedly crumpling up a piece of newspaper to put in the wood-stove. I happened to glance at the paper I was crumpling and noticed the picture of a couple taking a walk. What really stopped me was the caption underneath which read “Get out, take a walk...don't huddle inside by the fire.” I smiled looked up and said, “No, wrong person, not happening!”
Still the needs of the churches I knew were there. Finally several nights later, determined that this idea was totally not workable, I decided to, just for fun mind you, find a destination for this hike which was definitely not going to occur. I knew the destination should involve an Old Testament religious type name and I knew that it couldn't be too far, as this was a first hike. Which is when I stumbled across Jericho, Vermont, a small town of about 5,000 people, and 169 miles away. After all wasn't I trying to take down a few walls of my own? Sure, Jericho sounded like a great destination for this hike that was never going to happen anyway.
Thoughts of the fund-raising hike were totally buried, when I found out I had been invited to attend Rare Syndrome Advocacy Days in Washington D.C. It was a nationwide conference and a limited number of scholarships had been given out, I was lucky enough to receive one. Soon I was preoccupied with plans for travel and several pieces of legislation I was hoping to begin working on.
I had totally forgotten about the hike which the Good Lord seemed to be determined I take despite my list of “this is a really bad idea” reasons. As I was registering I heard the woman behind me introduce herself. “I'm from Jericho, Vermont.” I turned to her introduced myself and smiled saying, “Yes of course you are!”
At this point my Battle of Jericho was over. If the Good Lord wanted me to go to Jericho, I was going to Jericho. At some point I had to have faith that there was a reason for this trek. Once back from Washington, I bought myself a walking stick. If it ever stops snowing, I will begin training. Yes, Jericho is indeed on the horizon for the Summer of 2014.