September 9, 2012

I know this post might not be so Outdoor related, but it is something that this group, Hiking Michigan has taught me over the last 14 years. It has been a very interesting time meeting thousands of people, working with all different types of individuals, all relating under their love and respect for the outdoors in some way.

For most of my life (mostly business) I would always say that you never really knew the true nature of a person until they where pushed into a corner, and had no other way out. That’s when their real personality and beliefs showed up. I would tell that observation to other people and they would grimiss. In a way agreeing with the observation, but like me, not being happy with the fact that this was the best way to see the real person inside someone.

These last 3 months, nearly dieing, the extensive and lonely hospital stays, the intense pain and all the things that no one would ever volunteer for, has also taught me some valuable and unpredictable lessons.

The biggest of those lessons was that people can show their true inner selves, without being pushed into a corner with no other way out. The kindness and consistent loving support I have relieved from just not family, but my Outdoors family too at Hiking Michigan has shown me many things.

Just getting back to Hikes now, and HM helped out a young Eagle Scout do a program of Invasive species removal to save a FEN out at Ortonville. I attended this work session/gathering along with many Scouts, Scout Leaders and a few HM members. One in particular was my inseparable trail buddy for the entire day. Now this has happened over the years, where even though I interact with everyone at a Hike, there might be one individual I spend most of my time with.

Well….as the day went on, the sun came out and he suggested we get out of the sun and take a break, which we did. Where ever we roamed in this vast FEN area, I seemed to never be out of sight of this person. Upon our return to the meeting Tent and some Scout supplied Pizza, I found that he had supplied a chair for me. The only folding chair there. All these little things, without direct mention, and with no direct pampering, turned out to be something very special.

I did not realize this until I was driving home from the gathering. This person had come to the Event to watch over me. He did it with respect and by not making me feel like the cripple I now sometimes feel like, still not having recouped completely from all this bad health and surgeries. These where the actions of a real friend.

He was not pushed into a corner or forced in any way to do the things he did all afternoon. He did them with great respect to me, allowing me to participate with the Event and not feel like I was not capable or singled out in front of all the people attending.

There are single acts of kindness. The friend who comes and picks you up with just a telephone call, when your car breaks down. The friend who helps you move. (and that’s a big one) 🙂  But the person who plans their entire afternoon around making sure my afternoon was a fun and full-filling one, without saying a word about it, was a friend that gave me something I thought could only be obtained when pushed into a corner and forced to reveal their true nature.

To this true friend I say THANK YOU. And that does not cover his actions. To all you wonderful Hiking Michigan people who have stood by your Group, continued to participate in Web discussions, sent me many Get Well emails and cards, and who just have been here CONSISTENTLY (and that is the big Key) I say Thank You for not only being my real friends, but for showing others the true nature of real people.

These kinds of consistent actions of integrity, kindness, sharing and hope, are the things all of you have shown the other members and what has been the glue with the love for the Natural world, in this Group. It is what has made us special and unique. It is why we are the largest Hiking Organization in Michigan. The second largest outdoor group in our state, second only to MUCC. It is why our interacting Blogs get 100-150 HITS per day, every day. It is why, even while we have taken this long break of over 3 months, we still have received over 500 new members in S.E.MI. and 200 new members for our new Hiking North/Central Group.

Thank You HM people for teaching me much about the outdoors with your sharing attitudes and showing me many things about human nature as well. Real Friends are hard to come by. Sure…..you can have 1,000 Facebook friends. But how many are Real? You all have blessed my life, expanded my brain and brightened my heart. Experiences I would never have had the opportunities to explore so often, without our Hikes and Outdoor activities as a Group.


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