The View From the Top

Posted by on Oct 1, 2012 in Faith, Mental Health | 0 comments

The View From the Top

Since my family moved to Colorado a little over a month ago, we have been in overdrive taking in all of the scenic views, mountain air, and outdoor activity. On Saturday and Sunday mornings we leave the house as early as we can, find a mountain to hike, and spend our days outside soaking in this new place we love. Each week, we have progressively worked our way up to more challenging trails and terrain. We take our kiddos everywhere with us – partly because we enjoy them and partly because we have no one to leave them with – so these hikes involve getting a 1 year old and 3 year old up a mountain in addition to ourselves. Bug and Bear have turned into little mountain ladies, I am amazed at how they can keep up with us on some pretty strenuous hikes, but the fact remains that they have short legs and they always wear out just as we’re nearing the summit of our hike.

The hikes have developed a predictable pattern. We start out strong, all of us, full of energy, determination, and conviction that we can get to the end of the trail where the stunning overlook awaits. Bug runs most of the way up yelling, “Mommy! JOG ME!” That kid has a future as a personal trainer, I’m telling ya. Her yelling motivates me, and so I do as I’m told and JOG HER. Husband brings up the rear with Bear, who walks most of the way but occasionally needs to be carried over a rough patch.

After about an hour, we all start to wear out a little. We start asking the hikers passing us on the way down how far we are from the top. “Oh, about halfway,” they always say. Always. We are halfway, then 5 minutes later still halfway, then 10 minutes later still halfway, and so on and so forth until we start to feel that we’re not actually moving at all, that we have, in fact, come to a complete standstill despite all of the energy we’re expending to continue upward. We have no way to gauge our progress and it feels like we’re no longer getting anywhere.

Me: “I’m feeling done with this. I think it’s still really far. The girls are wearing out. Maybe we should turn around.”

Husband: “No. I’m not quitting.” Long pause, heavy breathing sounds… “Unless your wisdom is really telling you it’s better to turn around.”

Screw wisdom, I’m not about to be the quitter in this bunch! So onward and upward we go. The last part of the trek up to the peak is always the hardest, longest, most exhausting part. Honestly, it stops being fun for just a little while. But then all of a sudden, we’ve arrived, just when it felt like we never would, and we find ourselves at the top looking out over the most amazing view, breathing in the fresh air, feeling full and invigorated and thrilled. It was so worth it.

On our last hike, the whole process reminded me of what it feels like to pursue a big dream, to work hard towards any meaningful goal. The beginning is always so full of excitement, energy, and optimism. It feels like you can conquer the world with your big ideas and unique dreams! You run forward with all of the enthusiasm and determination you have in your being so that you can reach the top and enjoy the view. But then come the obstacles – the climb is steeper than you anticipated, the people around you aren’t giving the guidance and help you need, it’s taking much longer than you planned, your legs seem a little too short to finish as strong as you started. Sometimes there’s an absolute failure and seems to be no reason to continue. Maybe you should quit, you start to think. You were too ambitious, you have too much slowing you down. It’s perfectly respectable to just head back down and do something else, something easier.

The thing is, you are probably closer to the top than you realize. The last leg is always the hardest, longest, most exhausting part. But all of a sudden, when you think it will never happen, the path opens up and there you are.

The view from the top is always worth the climb.

 

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