Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Keep Your Cadence

When we were first new to hiking, I spent a lot of time reading the White Blaze forum.  This site is a place to find answers to all questions related not only to hiking, but to the Appalachian Trail specifically.

I remember reading a veteran hiker who stated the most important thing about maintaining a steady mileage was to "keep your cadence."  He went on to explain that whether the terrain was smooth or rocky, whether the path was ascending or descending, that one should keep a steady pace.  

There is a great deal of truth in his statement.  Muscles in motion tend to remain in motion. Muscles which have ceased motion (at least mine,) are slow to start up again.  A person keeping up a steady, although slow, pace may at the end of the day, have traversed more than someone going in fits and starts.

I have tried to implement this as we walk along the streets each day (although we find very few ascents and more roots than rocks.)  I try to keep a steady cadence running in my head.  As often as not, there is a hymn playing in my head, or (appropriately) one of my favorite pieces of music, Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland.  The rhythm of the music helps to keep my feet in rhythm whether stepping over a curb or navigating around a rock, or in Mobile, a disjointed piece of sidewalk.  The words resounding in my brain keep my mind occupied on something other than my feet and legs.

In our Christian lives a steady cadence helps to keep us upon the right path as well.  A steady walk with the Lord: by consistently reading the Bible, turning to the Lord in prayer and consistent fellowship with other believers, will find us with much growth in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.  Yes, sometimes there may be a root or a rock in the path that we don't see.  Our tired legs may stumble on the object and we might struggle to maintain balance.  But if we fall, if we come to a spot where we stand still, we should listen closely for the call of the Holy Spirit.  He will be gently urging us to "Get up!"  "Keep going!" will be His softly whispered cadence to us.

The race is not to be the first one to finish, it is simply to finish. . .  to continue on until we are done. . . to keep going.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, 
and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  
I press toward the mark for the prize 
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  
Philippians 3:13, 14.

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