This is Sentinel Dome. It’s only a 1.1 mile hike to the base of the dome, then a rather steep walk up 300′ to the top. I figured it would take me about an hour to complete. That was before I met Jesse…

Jesse is a young man who just graduated from Pensicola with a BA in accounting. He is on a cross country trip by himself to see the world. We had a great introductory chat. He asked me if I’d like to hang out, and asked if I thought I could help him get to the top. I was doubtful, and on my own schedule, but I said sure! What could be difficult about getting to the top with this muscular, fit young man….. with no arms, and who cannot bend at the knee because of leg braces under his zip offs….lol…yep, you read that right!!!

The trail was our first challenge. He is not new to hiking, but the easiest steps and side-steps for you and me take extraordinary execution for him. Then came the dome. Fortunately the walk up the back side is not nearly as steep as you see in the photo here. With lots of patience and me holding his tiny little hand, we made it to the very top!!

Of course, getting up is one thing, getting down proved to be a greater challenge. But through it all, we had a delightful trip together. I was amazed at his wonderfully positive spirit, and proficiency at which he gets water, protein bars, and his tablet from his pack. His car has no special equipment!!

It was only moments before meeting Jesse that I was complaining to myself about the stiffness that morning in my back. Ha! What a joke!

Sometimes we don’t realize how good we have it until we meet people like Jesse. It got me thinking about all of you, and how grateful I am to have you in my life. I thought about Toni, my wife, and how much I take for granted the deep love, patience, grace and joy that I am blessed with in her. I love you, Toni!

And I just want to say that if life has got your chin on the ground, or you are feeling a little incomplete in your life, just think of me and Jesse working together to get to the top of that dome – and then go hug the ones you love!

Yosemite National Park, California.