Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jump, Jenny...Jump!

New Jersey Folklore tells the tale of Jenny, a young girl in colonial times, who was out picking berries or something with her father. A group of hostile Indians...we call them Native Americans now, but back then, since they were hostile, they were called Indians...came upon them. Jenny's father, wanting Jenny's chastity to remain intact, called to her to jump across a chasm to another, safer rock ledge. You can guess what happened next...that's right, she missed. Way to go, Dad. Her chastity remained intact but the rest of her didn't. She lost her life. Not quite an even trade-off. 

There is now a state forest named after Jenny. It's called, appropriately, Jenny Jump State Forest. Brian and I hiked there this weekend. We never did see the rock Jenny jumped from or to...I guess they keep that hidden so no contemporary dads get the same idea. 

Well, as usual, we got a rough start. No bears, ticks or hostile Indi...Native Americans. It's the book---the darned book again! Trails constantly change and because of that, I have discovered, trail books are often unreliable. I'm throwing out the book. It didn't line up with the trail map we got in the office. In fact, for some reason, there didn't seem to be any loops (as the book claimed there were). Just a few trails that came to an abrupt end. We ended up taking a few of those and turning around and coming back on the same trail. Not ideal, but we made it work.

The most recently developed trail, the Blue Trail, is one long trail which we picked up halfway through and decided, heck, let's just go to the end---to Ghost Lake. We guestimated it to be about a mile and a half. At least the dog will get to swim. Ha! Haven't I learned anything yet? Ghost Lake was a mass of lily pads-very pretty, but no shore for Lucy to wade in from, and I wasn't about to let her just jump in. The last jumper didn't fare too well. Jenny's ghost might decide to grab Lucy from under the maze of lily pad roots. So poor Lucy, panting and pulling, only got to look at the water. That would be like me going into a chocolate shop and not being able to eat any.
Brian and Lucy in the "middle" of Ghost Lake

The hike to Ghost Lake was very quiet, but coming back we encountered people all along the trail. You see, Jenny Jump is also a place to camp. And a humongous group of campers--like 100, interspersed along the trail--decided to "walk" down to the lake. They had no idea of the rocks and scrambles they'd encounter along the way. I guess they thought it was just a "walk in the woods." One group even brought their boom box (complete with very loud music). Way to defile the forest, city people.

Suddenly, there were two young men behind us, which was odd, given the fact that everyone was going the opposite way, and we were a good half mile back from the lake. I don't know if they walked very fast, or if they turned around, but the next thing I knew, all these people were turning around. I heard one of these guys tell a group coming down, "Don't waste your time. It's not worth it."

Clearly, these were not hikers for the sake of hiking. Of course it's worth it! Reaching our destination is always worth it. But if you're looking for a place to swim, I guess it's not. All those people---I couldn't get out of there quick enough. I have become a trail snob.

My lesson? Not everyone shares my passion, whether it's my walk on the trail, my walk in life, or my walk with Jesus. Some will say it's not worth it. Some will say I'm wasting my time. Some will expect more and be disappointed when they get to their destination and it's not what they expected. And then they'll tell the others along the way not to waste their time, simply because of their own disappointment.

Brian and I found that particular trail to be somewhat challenging. Others, not expecting the
challenge, may have found it to be a hindrance, a nuisance, an obstacle that wasn't worth wasting their time attempting to overcome. They wanted easy. They wanted short. They wanted useful. And because they encountered obstacles that they didn't expect, they wanted out.
The rock that Jenny jumped from (??)

We cannot ever let anyone else decide what is "worth it." We cannot allow another to decide if we are "wasting" our time or using it wisely. Your journey is not my journey. It's personal. The only journey that I will tell you is worth it, is discovering Jesus and walking with Him. THAT journey is one that you will not regret. 

You know, that whole experience is not all that much unlike the folk tale...the tale of poor Jenny's demise. She listened to her father and died. Those young men along the trail who told everyone to turn around because it wasn't worth it? They may as well have said, "Jump, Jenny...JUMP!"

Blessings Along the Path,

PS: when I did a search for images, I found that rock...It's apparently the rock Jenny jumped from and we did actually walk right by it...sort of a let down...I expected it to be much bigger...

Song of the Day
Worth It All (Rita Springer)
Jenny Jump State Forest Info link

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