A Good Pair of Hiking Poles

“Keep sound wisdom and discretion; let them not escape from your sight, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely and your foot will not stumble. If you sit down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3:21-24) 

I have been a backpacker/hiker most of my life. When someone suggested that I use some hiking poles, I thought, “What nonsense!”. I do not need anything to help me up the trail. Wow! Was I ever wrong! Watching a friend “glide” up the trail while I stumbled along behind, I finally gave in and agreed to try a pair of hiking poles. At the end of the hike, I purchased a set for myself and have used hiking poles ever since.

Yesterday we came to a junction in our Lenten trail. Having chosen the more difficult looking trail, filled with rocks and brush, a pair of hiking poles is exactly what we need. One of the poles is named “wisdom” and the other is called “discretion”. We will find that they are indispensable for our journey. As we continue up our trail, the Book of Proverbs (our headlamp) will show us all the ways wisdom and discretion will keep us safe and on the right path. Wisdom is knowing the right path (what to do or say). Discretion is having good judgement in knowing when and if to do something (when to act or speak and when not to act or speak). It is easy to see how they go together so well.

Today we learn that wisdom and discretion are so valuable that we need to make sure we don’t lay them down someplace and forget where we laid them. With them we will hike safely and we will not stumble. We need not fear injuries in the journey ahead if we use them faithfully. At the end of each day, though we may be tired from the journey, our sleep will be sweet. Think on those words from today’s reading in Proverbs one more time:

With our hiking poles in hand, let us continue on our journey.

Fr. Stephen

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