Friday, November 28, 2008
Ups and downs
I climbed a mountain once. When the group leader asked why I wanted to climb the mountain, nothing profound came to mind. I merely stammered "to twirl on the top like Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'." It was the best I could offer. It was honest.
Climbing that mountain (known as Indefatigable in the Canadian Rockies) was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my life. It was also one of the most freeing, most rewarding. And yes, I did twirl at the summit ridge.
As challenging as the ascent was, the descent was even trickier. Every step had to be carefully placed as the loose rocks and pebbles were waiting to take you for a steep ride on your bum if you slipped.
Going up or coming down, you had to be mindful of where you placed your feet. While in motion, you had to be grounded. I can relate to that paradox.
I'm climbing again. Actually, I'm helping my daughter, Jenn, climb. There's not much of a guide to climbing an inner terrain. Still, determination and belief that the summit is worth reaching keep me going. This is more than a one-day hike. I'm in it for the long-haul. Some days the slope is steep, slippery, and I step more cautiously. Other days bring some sudden breathtaking views and I relax a bit and smile. This is life, my life at the moment.
November has never been an easy month. It holds a family history of decline and loss - family members, surgery. Yet, it is also the month that my godson, Donald, and my granddaughter, Hannah, were born. So November brings both struggle and blessing.
I'm an optimist at heart. What's at the top of the mountain calls me to look up time and again. I may not have the energy I had when I climbed Mount Indefatigable several years ago but I do have the desire to reach the summit. And bring Jenn along with me. One patient, vigilant step at a time.
The view at the top is all so worth it.