Own Mt. Everest
Relative few flag snowy crest
Elusive to throngs who’ve tried.
Emaciated air, like bones picked dry
Seeps to lungs so ill supplied.
With heaviest feet I climb strange
Newly sprung from deepest ground.
Lungs lurch for breath, eyes fierce on quest.
I climb, I climb,
I climb. *
We are all hikers. Along the journey with our challenge, we are all climbing individual “mountains” with their own high peaks and deep valleys, but ultimately we are always ascending if we make any effort to deal well with our climb toward HOPE.
We are not alone on our hike. There are other hikers. And there is God, our Heavenly Father. There is deep comfort in realizing we are not alone in our journey. We have the companionship of others who are dealing with their journeys through difficulty, and we have the companionship of God, the source of healing love unmeasured. We can learn from them. Also, there is unreserved strength that comes to us as we witness our own human spirit getting stronger—we are building our own personal, “spiritual strength and determination muscles” as we climb. It may feel like such a difficult climb that we can’t even feel God’s hand in our lives at the time, but trust in Him and know that He is helping you directly and through the help of other people. Someday you will look back on this experience and you will see His hand in your life.
We share similar journeys with millions of other hikers, but what we “see” along the journey becomes very personal and unique to us. As we ascend our mountain we may notice lovely “trees, flowers, or clouds” in the form of hope, as we hike along. There will probably be deep valleys of despair too. Very deep. As we “round a bend” in our journey we may be stopped short as we behold the sudden beauty of hope in the form of a friends hand on ours, a strangers smile, or a feeling of overwhelming love from on High. Choose to see the beauty along your climb. Sometimes it is just enough to desire to
have hope, you round a bend and there it is…
If illness is your challenge, traversing the terrain of uncertainty in the beginning (before an accurate diagnoses of our illness is made) is often frightening and confusing. Some people might think we are just complaining and should just “snap out of it”. Sometimes our physician might suspect we have a certain condition because of our symptoms. Then they start using frightening words (like names of diseases) which can worry us until further tests are done. The period of not knowing what we have is exhausting—the worry alone is enough to keep you in bed all day.
When we are finally given a diagnosis, it is sometimes a relief, in a way, to at least have a name to give our symptoms. At least we are given a little knowledge as we continue hiking along our path, and knowledge is power: power to learn more about our condition on our own, and power to choose how to act on and accept our circumstance. We may be too unwell at first to learn or choose anything, but with time, that will come as we keep climbing.
Just because someone tells you the name of a condition you have, it does not in any way tell you anything about who you are. It is only a name! The diagnosis, the name, gives you helpful clues of a path to take toward wellness. Take the new information and adopt an attitude of hope, trust in the Lord, seek medical help, learn about health, and listen to your body.
I have referred to all of us as hikers because, as we all know, some days can feel like we are climbing a tall mountain at 14,000 feet, or running a marathon while just sitting at the breakfast table, or without even leaving our bed or the couch. How many of us find that it is a special luxury to shave or fix our hair, rather than the norm? Just the energy spent to lift a blow dryer and work any sort of magic is like asking us to perform a small miracle. Forget about standing up straight and tall while you take a shower (a bath is easier, but not much). It’s hard to wash your face in the shower when you’re hunched over under like Quasimodo.
We are hikers of a special sort: an extraordinary breed. We accomplish so much just by merely making it through one day at a time, even if we are unable to leave our bed. We are strong even when we feel weak. We are ascending even though we feel like we are descending. It all has to do with the depth of the human spirit—your human spirit. If people only knew how hard we work to reach the peak at the end of the day . . . I’m not kidding.
So, fellow hikers, I climb with you and support you. Remember who is on the path with you. Your Savior is there. He understands your suffering. He is the source of the hope you seek. I am grateful for the support I receive from God, family, and friends.
*Poem by, Gwendolyn Soper