A lingering impression from a weekend away with people I work with but did not know well refuses to leave. Our scheduling was grueling, offset by great meals and a periodic pause. Day 1 grueling included two sessions of hiking stairs up and down waterfall marked canyons. The burn sensation in my legs reminded me that I needed to exercise more. It was fun but the sweat dripping from everyone on my head, pain in the chest due to a lack of oxygen, and the worry about my ability to get back were visible warning flags that I should push ahead with moderation and care.
During the hike, well into the journey and a long way up the mountain, a young man ahead of me screamed and grabbed his calf. It was obvious that a severe cramp has stopped in mid-step. Without a word everyone around him went into action. Gentle supporting him so that he could lay down, designer purses became pillows while others worked to stretch and massage the muscles causing the pain.
I initially helped, then backed away to watch as others more informed and skilled than I do what was needed. The interaction between everyone was an introduction to what followed later.
As the pain reduced and flexibility returned, we headed back towards the busses. There was a flurry and a buzz that I took to be the residual excitement from working out. Unknown to me, two others had succumbed to exhaustion, losing what remained from lunch. The consensus from those around them was that we needed a Plan-B to the hike schedule on the next day.
Without reference to the incident, at dinner it was announced that a Plan-B had been formed. Relaxed, informative, and filled with new experiences, everyone had the freedom to go with A or B. As I voted for B I asked why we had the options. Paraphrasing the response, others had “set us at the head of the line, prize-winning Jacob, his favorite,” (Psalm 47.4) taking care of us when we needed it most.