As is often the case, it wasn't until we broke the cycle of our usual routine last weekend by going on our first family overnight hike, that the pause button was pushed on the hectic pace that is 'life'.
We had planned this hike for months; we trained, arranged a menu, purchased gear, and diligently checked the weather for the week prior. With two children in tow we hadn't expected it to be an easy family outing, but we knew it would provide an opportunity to create some special family memories as well as present an opportunity for the kids to gain a sense of achievement from the challenge that presented itself.
It took us two and a half hours to travel the 7 kilometre path, each carrying backpacks containing our gear. The path weaved around hillsides and along remote beaches before ending at our camp site on the downhill side of some sand dunes facing a secluded bay. For two days our focus was on a single goal; to reach our destination. Our actions were largely based around eating, sleeping and walking.
Life was simple. For these two days there was no washing, cleaning, Saturday sport, homework, play dates, grocery shopping, medical appointments or otherwise to think about. The simplicity of our days brought sheer delight, for adults and kids alike.
The hike provided opportunity for reflection time, nurturing of relationships, shared conversation and family bonding. Of course, the other jobs were there awaiting us on our return (along with backpacks to unpack and clean up) but we could approach them partly refreshed, albeit quite physically tired.
The simplicity of going back to basics on our hike allowed us the time to briefly focus on the things that matter in life. In the bible we are told "For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." (NIV Bible 1 Timothy 6:7-8).
This sounds like such a wise guidance, however a real challenge to follow within a busy lifestyle.
I don't claim to have any sound advice on how to follow this guidance, however I do know as my family approaches the year ahead that we plan to try hard to take more opportunities to live simply. I pray that God will help us to do this and that we may experience his blessings as we do.
Merewyn Foran is married and a marketing director of a not for profit homelessness agency in Melbourne.
Merewyn Foran's archive of previous articles can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/merewyn-foran.html