A Bridge Worth Crossing

[dropcap style=’box’]W[/dropcap]e started our trek crossing the most rickety, terrifying, worn-out wooden bridge you could imagine… and it was the only way to get to the other side. We had to go one at a time, the bridge swung so much. The planks of wood were broken off in places, rusty loose nails warning us to tread carefully. Before I could think to stop him, my son Brady–being nine years old and full of zeal–began crossing.

Heart pounding, I watched him.

He finally reached the end of the bridge. But because my beloved kid was now on other side, I had to cross to be with him. No turning back.

Editor’s note: The following is a blog post written by Carey Smith–Summit instructor and wife of Executive Director Tom Smith–in which she reflects on overcoming challenges throughout her exploration of Patagonia during Summit Adventure’s first trekking course in that region. 

So I crossed. I would like to tell you I felt spiritual at the time, but mostly I said, “God please don’t let this tiny plank break,” followed by a silent swear word. Looking back, I felt shocked that we took the risk on that pathetic thing called a bridge, high over the river. But I felt compelled to take the risk because Brady waited on the other side.

Secondarily, the bridge was also the gateway to the trail leading to our destination, a refugio–refuges for weary travelers in the middle of nowhere. Amazingly simple structures that you can’t believe are so high up, so far back, owned by individuals who are living like pioneers.

Carey pictured with her son Brady in front of a Patagonian refugio.

I realized, during each day out in wilderness, I felt like I was shedding skin. I had new thoughts, renewed understanding, fresh discoveries. With no mirrors, no cultural pressures, no media, no material possessions but what’s on my back–it felt freeing. Surrounded by a simplistic beauty that calls, compels.

Hard work was not rewarded by acquiring things, no, but by finding inner strength and being surprised by the physical fortitude I didn’t even know I had. Rewarded by getting to a destination where I could rest, reflect on my rugged journey, discover that the trappings of comfort are often actual hindrances to growth. Rewarded by the beauty of places barely touched or seen, born from dusty, rocky trails that my boots, my determination took me to.

And I also found parts of myself exposed that I had kept hidden, with the renewed glimpse and understanding of why hard things, with God’s help, can bring forth good–like a horrible fire that kills yet also clears the debris that clutters the forest floor. The heat releasing seeds of new life. This is the way of nature, the way of God, the way of the cross.

My short time in the beautiful, rugged Patagonia wilderness reminded me personally of why the work of Summit Adventure is so powerful. Of why God often works the way he does and of how thankful I am to have a God who walked the earth with dusty sandals, on a journey to love and save his kids–knowing his journey included the steep, painful terrain of the cross.

His purpose and destination creating a bridge, like that scary bridge I crossed to be with Brady, to get his kids to be together with him on the other side of the river of this life. All because he loves us. A trek worth taking, a bridge worth crossing.

For further reading on Summit’s first time in Patagonia, check out participant Miles Bocianski’s guest post here. For more information on the Patagonia Trek & Serve Course, follow the link here.

Share this post