Honestly, the weekend was a bit of a failure… with a little success… if you stretch the imagination. My husband and I were hoping to have one last summer hurray before school, activities, dance and football monopolized the family life in the next few weeks. But our children had better ideas. Two had a church camping trip that sounded more fun then spending time with family. One planned a date to an air show. One won’t be seen in the same vicinity as the family because family is not cool. Needless to say, only one child, the youngest, was excited to have a family adventure.
We settled on creating “family moments” instead. The two girls went to the church camp out. Two went for a 2.5 hour canoe ride down the river. I took the son to lunch before football camp. I enjoyed some quiet reading while I waited for the canoe crew. We then started a fire in the yard and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows. My husband opened the tent trailer and made up beds for the youngest to “camp” with him. We convinced the attitude challenged son to go to the drive-in movie with the family. We enjoyed the first movie, Toy Story 3, but was relieved that we could be spared from a fight when we could leave the second movie because I wasn’t feeling too well. It was not appropriate. Our son really enjoyed it and it would have been war if we left due to movie content, so my coughing and heavy chest turned out to be a blessing.
In the morning my husband cooked breakfast in the camper. We lounged around and slowly got ready for the next adventure. One child went to the air show with her boyfriend and the ornery one grouched that I wouldn’t increase his computer time and refused to go to Silver Falls with the family. We picked up the “campers” and drove out for the hike.
The first part of the walk was lovely. The weather was nice and the path wound down into the beautiful valley. We passed beneath the waterfall and decided to make the loop to the next waterfall. I was surprised to remember that walking down hill took so much work. My legs burned and my sore ankle was not happy. I decided I couldn’t be a wimp and kept going. Besides, turning back or moving forward would still mean I had to go up hill. We made it to the second fall and began the assent to the top of the valley. I took many opportunities to pause and catch my breath and rest my burning legs. I was sweating and thirsty and tired of climbing. Wouldn’t it be nice to just sit and wait it out.
I started thinking about how this climb out of the valley was like my life. The more steps I took the more it looked like the mountain got taller and there were more steps to take. What’s with that?! Just when you thought you got to the top of the hill there was a switch back that kept you moving upward. In my life as a parent of teens, many responsibilities, and this weight loss journey I often find me wanting to sit on the side and wait it out. I often take three steps and rest my weary muscles and will... I often feel like I get to the top and find myself making a turn in a new direction and needing to continue climbing. Far too often I find that the more I think I can’t take another step the hill gets bigger. The only real choice is to keep going. Eventually the top is found.
Here’s the lyrics, try to read it and absorb its meaning. It reminds me that the only way to achieve success is to move forward no matter what obstacle I may encounter along the way. Burden and suffering is there, but it’s a much needed recipe for my success.
I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying
“You’ll never reach it”
Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I’m not breaking
I may not know it
None of us are alone in this. Today I was able to lean on my husband to get through rocky parts of the path or to gain strength to keep moving up. We only see our lives and it is hard for us to remember that everyone around us has the same problems we do. Today my husband and three kids all shared the same hilly path. And we were not alone. Many families were navigating their way through the hiking trails. We think only of ourselves and it is difficult to remember that everyone else is on this climb with us. They might be going at a different pace, but we aren't alone. And while we have to fight our battles alone (just like the Karate Kid) we aren't the only ones fighting. Everyone is fighting. Everyone is climbing to a better self. And that gives me confidence. I just think about my friends and family and I remember I have a cheering section. I just look at other people and say "if they can do it so can I" and I look around and see others struggling and I say "I am not alone." I can even survive the “teen” years. I can succeed in finding the top of the health hill. The top isn’t all that counts… it’s the climb that molds us.