In the summer of 1999, I set out with some close friends to hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia—a six-month journey. Prior to the hike, I had experienced occasional abdominal discomfort, but it hadn’t seemed serious. However, during the early part of the hike I frequently needed to take breaks to relieve pressure on my midsection from carrying a heavy backpack full of clothes, food, my sleeping bag, and a tent.
One morning six weeks into the hike, I was in such pain that I had to stop and rest on the side of the trail. The terrain was incredibly rocky, which made it difficult to find a comfortable spot to rest, but I took off my backpack and found a place to lie down on the rocks.
My friends were concerned when they found me lying on the rocks, but I assured them that I was praying for myself (as I’d been taught in Christian Science) and was expecting healing. I didn’t feel I was in danger and was grateful to have some time alone to pray, so my friends agreed to support me prayerfully as they hiked to the next trailside shelter, where we would meet for lunch.