On Saturday I got a rare date with my husband. A friend who serves as a respite provider for us came over for a few hours to take care of Verity, while our teens watched over the younger ones. Ted and I enjoyed a fantastic lunch at one of our favorite local restaurants and then decided to head to one of the trails near where our teens have hiked in the past. We didn't have a whole lot of time, so we decided to spend roughly half an hour going one way on the trail, and then turn around and make our way back to the parking lot.
Funny side note: I'm teaching our 5yo daughter to read, and one of her little stories talked about a log. When she figured out the word, she looked up at me with a happy smile and said, "Like I log in!" We took this picture to show her that real logs don't involve computers...
It was a gorgeous day, with the sun providing warmth and the breeze keeping the sun from overstepping. We enjoyed grown-up (uninterrupted) conversation as well as times of quiet as we steadily made our way uphill. We knew we wouldn't scale the small mountain--we didn't have time for that, nor had we really come prepared for strenuous hiking. We conserved our one water bottle, sipping sparingly to ward off the thirst that comes with altitude plus exercise. At this rest stop, we were both growing wearing, slowing as the incline became steeper, and had just about decided we were ready to call it good and turn around for the downward stint. We couldn't see much ahead of us, and surrounded as we were by the towering pines, there wasn't much of a view, either...other than the beauty of the mountainside itself, of course.
It was at this point when a couple came around the bend, headed down the hill. "Don't stop now," the gentleman said. "Just up there is the top with an overlook! You're only about 100 feet away!" We thanked him profusely and continued up the rocky path, feeling certain we would not still be venturing uphill if we hadn't encountered other humans who encouraged us to keep going. Sure enough, it wasn't long before we had reached the TOP, the END, of this trail, and there before us we had an unobstructed view of the region.
The life metaphor was already looming large in my mind. What if we had quit just 100 feet from the top? What if we had allowed the growing difficulty of the trail to defeat our desire to reach the top? What if the lack of our ability to even see the top had discouraged us from pressing onward? What if we hadn't met those folks along the way?
We wouldn't have made it. We would have missed the view along with a beautiful time of rest, reflection, and reveling in the beauty that is Colorado.
So the question before us remains...
What if we're closer than we think we are?
Not gonna lie...I have some big passions and dreams on my heart. Pursuing them is often a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of a deal, or even one-step-forward-multiple-steps-back. It's tempting to give up and say, "Oh well, I tried," and retreat back down the mountain to safety and security. Our mountain trail experience reminds me to keep pressing on, even when I'm tired and not seeing fruit from my efforts. One step at a time, one day at a time, one conversation at a time.
Maybe I'm closer than I think I am.
Maybe you are, too.