As an incoming college freshman, I attended Wheaton College’s Vanguard program. It was their Outward Bound–type wilderness program; some of you may have gone on it. It was three weeks in the wilderness, and I think the basic philosophy was “Let’s figure out what will kill someone and then dial it back.” So one day I was handed the topographical map of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I’m not sure I was holding it the right way, but I quickly got our group lost, pretty desperately lost.
For two or three hours, we had to just bushwhack through thick, thick brush. It was the kind where somebody was six feet in front of you, you could not see them anymore, and you would pull it back and then it would smack you in the face. But the bigger problem was that we ran out of water. The water that had started that day in our canteens was all gone and we were in a bit of trouble. So we reached a clearing that was big enough for our group to kind of collapse in, and collapse I did. I just threw my pack down, sat down on the ground, and eventually I just laid on my back and looked up at the sky.
I did not want to move. I didn’t want to move because, one, I was exhausted, I didn’t want to move because I was tired of being scratched up, and I didn’t want to move, because I was the leader, and I knew I was failing and I really did not know what to do. I don’t think our guide would have let eight freshmen die from dehydration. But I finally picked myself up somehow and move on. And it’s a good thing we did, because in not-too-far distance we found a spring and filled up the canteens, and everybody’s spirits kind of revived and we got back on track.
Well, I’ve ...
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