Some readers of The CBE Scroll will be surprised to learn of the variety of strongly-held opinions regarding who has the right of way when hiking. Hikers with an opinion are evenly divided between two primary points of view. First, many believe that when two hikers meet, the person hiking uphill has the right of way. Why? Because the uphill hiker shouldn’t have to lose and then regain momentum. Others believe the opposite, that the descending hiker has the right of way. Why? Because the huffing and puffing ascender would presumably appreciate a break! Throw in various complicating factors—lone hiker meets large group, woman meets man, walker meets runner, day hiker meets backpacker—and you’ve got fuel for a lengthy campfire discussion.
My practice is simply this: Always defer to the other hiker. It doesn’t matter to me whether I’m hiking up or down, quickly or slowly, alone or in a group, meeting a man or a woman. Whatever the circumstance, I stand aside for the approaching hiker. The result? The approaching hiker will either walk on by with a quick thank you, or will return the favor and also stop for me—which typically results in a brief conversation. This latter scenario is the preferred one. Because each hiker is meeting someone who has just been where he or she is headed, they can learn from each other about navigation (directions, distance, diversions), dangers (snakes, bears, bees), etc. In some circumstances, one hiker may be able to help the other with a problem and the seeds of a relationship may even be planted.
In Ephesians 5:21, Paul instructs Christians to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Mutual submission is indeed good advice for the Christian walk. Why worry about who defers to whom? Instead, submit to one another and everyone wins.