Fool’s View

Sometimes adventures unfold, and you can only laugh. What I now refer to as “that time we ended up at huge biker rally and camped on a trail in the forest” constitutes just that. My dear friend Becca planned a wonderful night of camping at Devil’s Den for my birthday. Thrilled to get away from it all, this weekend came at the exact moment I needed some respite in the beauty of the Ozarks. We set off with a skeleton of a plan, adding to the brewing sense of grand adventure.
Now some things to know about Becca and I:
  1. We argue over who is “more hipster”. I win, she is more hipster. When you look up the definition of hipster, you see Becca’s picture. Plus, I am the one writing this so she gets no real say.
  2. We make wherever we go fun. A pumpkin patch made for small children, yep. A dance party to Taylor Swift at the grocery store, check. Not using our thumbs at a fancy restaurant to see if we can; you can’t make this stuff up.
  3. We do not really ever fully plan anything. Both of us can have a grand adventure and literally no idea how any of it happened.
  4. The most shocking – we both lack any sense of direction. It truly is scary how neither of us can tell you anything about getting from one place to another.  
 Knowing that will help you understand that some of our friends rightfully appeared a little nervous when we just set off for a night of camping. No campsite booked. No research on weather. No double checking what we packed. We just went. 
After making the about three hour drive to Arkansas, we decided to stop in downtown Fayetteville at a cute sandwich place. Upon getting close to downtown, we discovered there was an enormous motorcycle rally happening. Like, thousands of people present.
This put us a bit behind our “schedule” to set up a tent before it got dark, and yet we ventured to get said sandwich – worth it. Becca and I kind of stick out at a motorcycle rally. We both wear animal t-shirts frequently and rarely ironically. I’m talking a kitten on a wrecking ball and a Bison taking a selfie.
With dinner eaten we ventured to go squat in the woods as I had done only one previous time with people who research things. Now pitch black outside, we of course did not make sure we had any sort of high power light source with us. We venture into the woods, iPhone flashlights attempting to direct our path (where our very experienced outdoors man friend once got extremely lost) determined to find the random “spot with four trees in a group” where I camped last time. Turns out, there are a lot of trees in the forest. I kid you not, we got freaked and camped maybe 150 feet from the entrance of the forest, on the trail, in my tent meant for six people. I think I vaguely recall waking up to people laughing at us the next morning. Undeterred by any of this, we packed up to head out on our grand hike! We stopped to ask a ranger for a good hike, because we did not pick one before we arrived. At the ranger station, without hesitation, they told us about a trail with an amazing view. We were hooked.
Before taking off, the ranger gave us very clear directions. I don’t know, maybe we were quickly the talk of the campground due to blocking the trail with our tent. She told us, “you’ll think you’ve made it to the stunning view when you get to this bench and you’ll want to stop. People actually turn back because they think they saw it all, but don’t! I call that the ‘fool’s view’. It is stunning, but not it.” 
She was right. On the trail right at that bench it seemed like we had arrived. I was stunned with how the light hit the trees and the different tones and shades of the leaves popping off the newly blued sky after a sun rise. We stopped and marveled. And I don’t know if it was because we slept on rocks on a slanted trail or what, but we were kind of tired. Stopping didn’t sound bad. We had seen an incredible view, We had enjoyed trail talks and shared life. But then we remembered not to settle. We had heard there was something better. We forced ourselves up and pressed on.
The rest of that trail seemed ok, but boring compared to that last view. What was previously an incredible hike over boulders and through tree lined paths became mundane and rather, meh. It was as if we had seen something that seemed great and like maybe we were the fools for not stopping there. What we had seen seemed fine. Maybe the ranger lied. Maybe we heard her incorrectly. Maybe we should go back, because the trail now seemed like a path to nowhere better than we had been. Then it happened.
We rounded a curve. The trees on the trail parted. We magically and instantly seemed to stand above the trees on a cliff. The sky felt so close we could reach out and touch it. The trees filled the sky with colors just beginning to change over to fall. It was like a crumpled piece of the most exquisite velvet laid at the bottom of this stunning, vast morning sunrise just beginning to fade into a bold, clear, blue sky. The ranger was right, only fools would stop at the bench.
How often does this scenario ring true in life? I know how easy settling sounds, to stop when something good happens, to not press on. The times when life shows you something beautiful, and then it gets hard again. I know that I begin to pine for that known beauty before the hard parts. I long for what was, after it is no more. But you must keep going. Enjoy the beauty around you. Enjoy sitting on the bench and looking at even the fool’s view. Just don’t stay there. God calls us to keep going. He calls us to press on to what He has for us. He calls us to the view that is clearly, without a doubt, His best view.
Becca and I took pictures on the cliff (and texted them to our friends so they knew we were alive), built ebenezer stones out of rocks and relished the view that demanded our attention for a very long time. Then we had to go – crepes and coffee awaited – and we had a motorcycle rally to navigate our way through. Leaving that view, I took a new-found sense of what God called us to look for, which left me full and refreshed, but did not prove easy. I closed my eyes in hopes of seeing that view long after I left it. The blue sky on the drive drew me to that cliff and the stillness of nature, even in the midst of thousands of motorcycles.
I still think about that trail and the realization of how often we settle instead of truly and fully trusting God. I have not stopped seeking out what God has for me and the new views He brings. The beautiful thing about God, He doesn’t peak. He is good and He calls us deeper because He loves us. There will be times where everything in life feels like the trail is opening up to the vast clear view and times when all you can see are benches with little fool’s views at best. Press on and press into God.

3 thoughts on “Fool’s View

  1. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought about this blog post since I read it. This life experience happens over and over….reaching what we ‘believe’ is a beautiful place, when in fact, the real deal is just around the bend. Blessings.


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