This is a picture of a Cairn in the Uinta Mountains; I took it on my way up King’s Peak this weekend.
Cairns are found along many different types of trails to mark where to go. As I’ve climbed a number of mountains this summer I’ve seen thousands of different Cairns along many trails. All have guided me to the peak.
As does every college student, graduate, and aspiring adult, I have wondered what my path is, and what direction I should head. I’ve made a lot of decisions over the past year that I’ve felt right about, but most of those decisions only led me to other decisions. Then my complete plan (which I had felt good about) was quickly overthrown. With each decision I felt “this is my destiny, this is the right thing.” Obviously, each of those things weren’t my "destiny." But really, when I look back, each decision was right enough to get me to the next decision.
Hikers rely on Cairns to guide them up mountains they haven’t been to. The Cairns are usually spread apart just enough that you can only see the next one from where you stand. You must go to one Cairn to get to the next.
Too often I’ve wanted to see the view from the top instead of just looking for the next Cairn in my life. It can be frustrating not to know exactly where the Cairns are taking me, but I know that the top is worth it. I just need to take the next step without knowing exactly where it will lead. I have to remind myself that forward is always the right direction. If a decision was enough to move me to a point where I can only see the next Cairn, then it was the right decision.
Life isn’t about discovering some hidden personal meaning; it’s about making meaning out of what you have and what you can see in front of you. You can’t see the view from the top, so make where you stand meaningful and just look for the next Cairn to take you one more step forward. It will guide you to a beautiful place; that I can promise.
Here is the view from the top, but that Cairn in the picture only led me to the next Cairn. I had no idea exactly how I would end up at the top. It was step by step that I arrived at my destination.
“I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough, for me.”
Lead, Kindly Light