I went for a hike with my brother and sister-in-law this past weekend at the partially closed Soberanes Canyon Trail. It was closed for some time due to severe damage from the 2016 Soberanes Fire and not helped by all the rain and flooding in the winter of 2017. It has recently re-opened but only 1.25 miles–which is the Soberanes Canyon Trail that meets with the Rocky Ridge trail and takes you down the west side of the slope. We ended up doing a 2.5 mile out and back hike and it was lovely.
We enjoyed the trail and the creek that was actually filled with water. The spring wildflowers were in full bloom and it was gorgeous. Bunnies darted across the trail and we all watched one another try not to fall in the creek while crossing the footbridges or hopping on the rocks.
On our way down, when people were hiking up I would step aside off the path to let them pass. I would look at them eager with anticipation for a “thank you,” or a response to my good morning. Not once did I receive any thanks or a response to my good morning. I stepped back on the trail a little more aggressively than I should have and thought to myself, “a thank you would be nice.”
And then I got to thinking about it. Why am I moving over for people? Am I moving out of the way because I think it’s the right thing to do or because I want them to thank me? If it’s the latter then I’m doing something wrong. You don’t buy a person a gift with the expectation of a gift in return. In my opinion. As I went down this mental rabbit hole I concluded that that is what is (part of) wrong with a lot of our society, we things with ulterior motives, to be thanked, to be recognized, to be paid, etc. but I don’t want to be a part of that. I want to, with clear and kind intentions, act kindly to others. If I am only moving over for you because I want you to thank me or recognize me then I’m not living life right.
I got off the trail feeling like I had come to a conclusion. It was just a little way of reminding me what I think is important and how I ought to proceed, heart-forward in this life. Give generously and without expectation of getting something back and be kind. Period.