I recently had the privilege of taking a trip with my family to Atlanta, Stone Mountain, Dillard and Gatlinburg. It was a long overdue trip and I feel very fortunate we were able to do so much. It was one of the most enjoyable trips I’ve been on in a long time because it was an activity-laden kind of trip. We did more than just shop and go sightseeing. We participated in activities, some of which were no small feat for me after the year I’d had. You see, this trip was my “coming back to life” trip. After one of my last appointments with my plastic surgeon in early December, he told me, “It’s time to bring you back to life.” I was given the green light to live again. It felt good and I understood how important this trip was for me. There were 2 things I wanted to accomplish: hike a mountain and ride a horse. I did both, times 2, plus my first time ever to go ziplining.
As we took our first hike up Stone Mountain, I made some observations that I’m sure are new to no one but really made me stop and think about life and the mountains and valleys we must traverse. Since October 2010 my life has been a series of mountains, valleys, rivers, gorges, deserts, wastelands, and green pastures. All of them equally beautiful and dangerous, yet exhilarating when you take in the raw, natural beauty they have to offer.
-Mountains and valleys can be both difficult and easy. It depends on where you are on your mountain or in your valley.
-It’s not important how fast you get to the top of the mountain. It’s important how often you stop to take a look to see how far you’ve travelled.
-Mountains can look high and impassable from far off. Don’t be afraid to get closer to the mountain to assess how high it really is.
-Always be brave enough to begin the journey. Your feet will take you farther than you realize.
-Sometimes a halfway house is a good thing. It means you have made it halfway from where you were and you are already halfway to your destination. It means progress.
-They say the view is better from the top, but I think they are missing the point. Mountains are beautiful from the top, middle, and bottom. Valleys are beautiful from their very center when you take in the majestic views all around.
-Reflecting on your journey while you are on it allows you to understand your true self.
-God made some beautiful views that man has corrupted. Take time to see past the present and see the landscape for how God intended it to be.
-The last few feet are always the hardest. You are tired, the path gets steeper, and resources dwindle. But it’s only for a season.
-There are two ways up the mountain: the trail paved by modern man or the pioneer trail. Look for a challenge. Don’t always take the same trail as everyone else. When you go off the beaten path you have the opportunity to blaze your own trail. The view you discover may be spectacular.
-I remember the last time I was hiking this mountain that I was afraid of the height. I am no longer afraid.
-Sometimes the unexpected detours that lead to the mountain are really the better choice or twist of fate.
-It’s the climb that will make you strong.
-It’s not always easier going up the mountain. Going down requires just as much skill and muscle as climbing.
-They say walking with your eyes on the ground in front of you is a waste of time. Put your head up; look around. Well, what will you miss if you are looking where you are going instead of where you will end up? A rock or two? Another stream? But what will you see if you look where you step? The caterpillar. The slippery rock. The root poking out of the ground. The beautiful mountain flowers. Don’t be afraid to be the cautious one and watch where you step. Balance it by also watching for your destination ahead.