In our hometown, there is a popular hiking trail known to locals as the Incline. The incline is the remains of an old railway up the side of a mountain and gains over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile. It may not look challenging from the bottom, but the halfway point tells a different story. As you near the end of the Incline, preparing to take your last step, you are faced with the unexpected. Laying before you are 300 more railroad ties to the real summit. The false summit is the point where many hikers swear, curse the hiking gods, and look upon their final resting place just 300 steps away from their destination. My last post felt a little like a false summit in our marriage.
It’s as if the heavens opened up and declared my destiny in a single name…at least that’s what I thought at the time. We had been surviving the first few months after I found out about Chris’s affair. Each day of our marriage was spent in the trenches, and each night brought both celebration for making it one more day and trepidation for what that night’s dreams would bring to life. I had started reading the Bible again, because what else could I do? I had grown up reading the Bible, and I was familiar enough with the stories to turn to a chapter that I could relate to. So I flipped through the pages until I landed in Hosea.
Before community groups and life groups, churches held Sunday night potlucks and Wednesday night Bible studies. Whether attending a community-building event, tagging along with my dad to elders’ meetings, or helping my mom fill tiny cups with grape juice for Sunday morning communion, I was always finding myself at the church. I can still remember the smell of the church kitchen and the sound of the empty auditorium, but it’s hard to pair specific memories with the moments my beliefs took shape.
My boys have mastered the art of fort building. Furniture, blankets, sheets, and shelves are all carefully arranged to make an elaborate maze of hideouts and hidden passageways that make up a little boy’s dream play space. It’s not unusual for us to find a new fort in the playroom every weekend, and we encourage our boys to be creative. But as we were cleaning up their latest architectural feat, I found something new in their fort.