The Gift of ‘Rolling with the Punches’

This is my very first blog post. Without trying to put too much pressure on myself to tackle all the ‘big questions’ and insights I have about life, I’ve decided to stay present and reflect on the biggest lesson reinforced to me this past weekend: there is reward in learning to roll with the punches.

It was on my bucket list this year to travel back to The Grotto in Tobemory, Ontario to tackle a 15km hike some friends and I had found by mistake four years back. A dear friend of mine and I decided to make the adventure a day trip by getting on the road before sunrise in hopes of arriving by lunch, spending the duration of the day hiking, and then travelling back home that night. Food was prepared, clothing and headphones were packed, and drive-thru coffee and breakfast was hit on the way out of town. I was excited! I knew the view throughout the hike was beautiful and after spending many years hyping up the hike to my friend I couldn’t wait to share the experience with him.

After a typo into Google Maps and a 30 minute detour down some (painfully) swerving roads we arrived at the destination: only to be turned away because of “over-crowding”. It turns out that because of social media, not only was the Grotto a heavily trafficked area, but the trail I had once had no problem accessing was now being guarded by park officials policing the amount of cars that could park in the lot at one time. The secret of this beautiful hike was out.

It wasn’t the park officials fault, but we were obviously let down. We had travelled over four hours in anticipation. When I explained my surprise, and my past experience on the trail without any sense of hostility towards the park official she allowed her guard to come down and gave us a run down of our other options in the area (not many on a busy Saturday in the summer). We thanked her and decided to head into Tobemory in hopes of coming up with another idea.

To shorten this story up, as I’m not one for details, it seemed no matter what idea we came up with it was plagued with a lot of tourists. Neither of us are one for large crowds, and the tensions in the car were running a bit high. I found myself easily irritated with my friend: the way he was driving, the lack of authority he was taking in the situation, quite honestly after awhile even the sound of his voice. I was frustrated. I wanted to go on our hike, and since we couldn’t I wanted to go home.

After some research, we ended up finding a small section of the Bruce Trail in Wiarton that was deserted. With. A. Beautiful. View.

As soon as we arrived, stretched our legs and got out exploring I could tell we both began to calm down. I stopped hating him for starters, and was able to admit to him that he had made me crazy. In turn, he was able to admit the same to me. We laughed it off, had beautiful conversation, and marveled in the view we found that (otherwise) we would never have discovered. Even more beautiful than that, it was just for us. No tourists, Instagram enthusiasts, impatient people. Just for us. A special, and unexpected, memory.

It’s funny in life, I’m guilty of it myself, that when things don’t go the way they are expected it is so very easy to let our expectations get the better of us and stop us from allowing the flow of ‘God’ to enjoy the ride we are to go on. Sometimes it ends up better than we expect, sometimes it creates room for growth, for intimacy, for connection. Sometimes it makes a good story. We forget sometimes, that life is one big adventure and when unexpected turns come up it is not a time to get angry and resist, but a time to breathe and let our hearts and minds open to new possibilities. Life will keep moving either way, so it is only us who will lose when we allow a change in our sail to disrupt our overall happiness.

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