I know it’s been a while since my last post. Umm…an excuse?! I don’t think I have one! 😀
It’s been a year now since we tied the knot. Yaaay!! We made it through our first year. Words can’t express how thankful we are to God for guiding us through. We have seen Him entwine His fingers into ours every day, holding us tight every step of the way. And I praise God that He still continues to do so.
To celebrate this amazing blessing the husband surprised me by planning a trip to the southern hemisphere. Where, you ask? We went all the way across the equator to …wait for it..
* drum roll*
Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. The island is home to religious sites such as cliffside temples. To the south, is the beachside open to popular resorts, restaurants and spas.
Our stay was for around 3 days. Pramod and I love to go sight-seeing but more than that we love to get an adrenaline rush from fanatical adventures. So day 2 of our trip was one of such.
We planned to go trekking up Mount Batur in Kintamani.
Ready for a little geography lesson?
Mount Batur (Gunung Batur) is an active volcano located at the center of two concentric craters. One crater is so low that a lake has formed above it- Lake Batur. The other crater is almost as high as the top of the volcano but a few metres lower.
We were picked up from our hotel at 1:40 am as it would take almost two hours to reach the base of the volcano. We packed our bags with jackets, sunscreen lotions, an extra pair of clothes and a few medicines (in the case of emergencies *nervous laugh*). As we got closer to the location our bodies began to feel the chill.
We zipped up our jackets and got off at the base camp (TIME-3:45am), where we were greeted by a sleep-deprived and sandal-clad native- our guide, Mandane. While we were geared in trekking footwear specifically designed for protecting the feet and ankles during the trek, Mandane quite literally wore just sandals- show off! Lastly, we were given torches, walking sticks and bottles of water before we began the hike.
We obediently followed Mandane, focusing on our path in the darkness. The crushing of gravel underneath our trudging steps and crickets chirping filled the awkward silence till we reached our first pit stop. As we sat down, Mandane informed us about two paths in the trek. One path was told to be short, easy and would end at the crater of the volcano. Whereas the other one was long, difficult as it was stepper and its final destination was the peak. With this information weighing on us, Pramod and I looked at each other with a we-can-do-it smile and decided to take the second route to the top!
10 minutes into the trek:
“Yeaaaah! Let’s go. Mount Batur here we come!! “
20 minutes later:
“Wow, there sure are a lot of rocks here. I bet it’s going to get easier”
1 hour and I began replaying the decision I took. I looked behind at my husband who looked like his lungs were about to burst but kept a brave face to prove he was strong enough to make it.
Background music : I’m a survivor, I’m gonna make it !!
As we walked into the woods, branches rubbing against us, twigs cracking, carefully trying not to trip over tree roots, I began to loose my breath. I found it difficult to walk forward as it got steeper. If spiderman had to train to walk vertical for his movies, I would definitely recommend Mount Batur as part of his exercise regime !!
As we got higher, Mandane offered to hold my hand to help up the climb. So my right hand was holding his hand, and I had the torch and the walking stick on my left. I kept manoeuvring the torch so that I could see the path Mandane was taking as it would be easier to step on the same stones as him.
A couple of groups even overtook us making us feel incapable of the climb.
Half an hour later I pleaded for us to take a break. Three of us sat on the huge rocks on the sides of our narrow path. I planted my walking stick on the dirt and settled back on my bumpy seat. Pramod gave me some water to drink and I looked up at him and said, ‘I doubt we will reach the top before sunrise’. He finished his bottle of water and said nonchalantly, ‘Don’t worry! Take your time. Remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you’.
I looked down and smiled to myself. That’s when I saw the beauty around me. I was so focused on reaching the peak that I forgot to take a minute to let the experience sink in. I switched off my torchlight and there it was!
The sky was lit by the full moon’s radiance with a couple of stars giving it company. I was surrounded by an uneven graph line of big and small rocks and shrubs. I peeped down and saw the expanse of the beautiful lake Batur outlined by the street lights of the village below. It was breathtaking…umm quite literally as I was regaining my strength and energizing my lungs. If this looked so beautiful I wondered how it would be on top.
I saw a laser of red light slowly make its way through the dark clouds. I asked Mandane how much longer and he assured me around 15 minutes. I was now energized and motivated to reach before sunrise. Pramod saw the look in my eyes and gave me a hand. We recommenced our hike.
And just like Mandane promised we finally made it to the top (TIME- 5:45am). Our bodies began to shiver as we sat down in the dark anxiously waiting for the sun to make its glorious appearance.
We were given tea and coffee to warm our insides. I was jittery, owing to the cold and the excitement of making it to the top.
And there we saw it, the sun waking up from its slumber (technically it never slept :p ), stretching itself, sending it’s rays across the sky and finally taking its rightful throne in the sky.
We ate our breakfast of boiled eggs, fruits and biscuits which they served as we enjoyed the sunrise.
They say all good things must come to an end, so 2 hours later it was time to make our descent (TIME- 7.30am). The path down was a little bit tricky. Quick but slippery. But then again our trusted guide helped us all the way down. Mandane was in high spirits as we trekked down- I guess he was more of a morning person. 😀
This was such an amazing experience.
Sure it wasn’t an easy one but it was totally worth it. During our break on the rocks, I remember thinking- God of this universe, the One who moved His hands over the waters of the earth, the One who brushed aside the rocks and stones, who lovingly sculpted the mountains and hills, whose fingers lightly brushed over the leaves and trees, who gave the sun, moon and the stars its rightful place- this same Almighty God bends down every moment of my life to listen to my prayers and invocation. I felt so humbled to be reminded that someone so insignificant as I was precious to Him.
It motivated me just like David said,
“Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!”- Psalm 116:12
It also taught me about His plan over my life.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.- Isaiah 55:8-9
I believe God has a specific plan and purpose for each of us. He assures to give His best. His best can be as far as the peak of that volcano or even higher, and it can take an indefinite amount of time with no end in sight due to the limitation of our horizon.
But just like the trek guide, God gives us His promise through the Word that we will make it. And our God is faithful to His word.
Meanwhile, enjoy the journey with its ups and down. The more difficult it gets, seek support from your fellow partner- this can be your parents, siblings, spouse, friends, or even the church. Let the Holy Spirit give you the assurance that you’re not alone.
Watch out for those giant rocks and prickly shrubs. Let it not scare you.
Be careful not to trip over those roots and twigs because I don’t think the devil sits still while you make your way up.
Many may overtake you on your journey. But don’t worry they are going a different route. They don’t have what they need to go on your path and neither do you on theirs. Focus on the path that’s been paved for you.
And last, enjoy the waiting period. Don’t forget to bask in the blessings He showers on the way. Every break, step and pit stop has a purpose.
Happy trails, everyone ! 🙂