Tuesday, August 20, 2013

climbing mountains

This last week we spent time with friends in northern Maine, at a family cabin.  It was a wonderful time with many fun things to do, and we are so grateful for it!  I also learned (re-learned?) an important lesson as we decided to go hiking in Acadia National Park.

My friends, Hannah and Christina, are kind of super hikers.  They would say that was not true, but it is.  So when they suggested doing the Beehive, I was apprehensive.  Then I looked it up online and got even more nervous.  I was not thinking so much about the straight up hike for myself as I was the fact that I had to watch the kids do it!  When the warning signs look like the one below, you tend to think twice as a mom!

However, just the day before we went exploring an island that had a lot of cliffs and rocks to climb and the kids did awesome so I decided to give it a try.

When we pulled up and saw the mountain that was the Beehive, I tried not to show my distress.  I knew there was no way I could keep up with these two climbing.  However, I also knew that my kids really wanted to do it, so I started off with no complaints.  I didn't take long for me to start huffing and puffing.  Then the pressure to keep up came on, and I felt like a failure.

You know those moments when you really want to do something, but there's enough doubt, pride, or embarrassment that you don't?  Well, I know those moments in my life - and they often come to the fact that I know I have to lose some weight, and I allow that to rule what I do or don't do.  I didn't zip line with the kids this summer, even though I REALLY wanted to, because I was embarrassed of my weight.  I haven't tried a ropes course, even though it sounds like fun, because I was worried about what people think.  There aren't many times in life when I think about what others think - I tend to do things off the cuff and think about it too late.  But when it comes to my weight, I am always self conscious.

So when Hannah and Christina, and our friend Carrie started up the mountain at breakneck speed, I tried to get them to go without me.  I was disappointed in myself -especially since I knew how much Andrew wanted to go.  But I was not going to "hold them back" or make it boring for them because of my slowness.  I knew I could do it - but not at the rate they were going.

Then in stepped my dear, sweet, stubborn sister.

Christina is one of my best friends.  She is quiet and thoughtful and introspective.  And stubborn - very stubborn.  She intervened and sweetly and politely told me that the reason she wanted to do this particular mountain again was because she wanted to experience it with us.  She told me I could set the pace, and the put me up front.  She was sweet, thoughtful - and determined.  And I am so thankful for that.  Christina saw the desire in me, and knew the potential in me (I am also slightly stubborn) and pushed me that way I needed to be to go.  She knows my struggles with my self image, as we have talked a lot about this, so this was one way she was not going to let me use that excuse.

So I slowly started the climb.  And you know what?  We passed and were passed by the same group of people over and over again.  That means we were all going the same pace, taking rests, taking in the view, taking pictures, etc.  And absolutely no one cared what I looked like.  Funny thing, pride.  I get so self focused sometimes!

And we made it - all of us - to the top!  RJ was making me laugh as he repeatedly (and throughout the week) exclaimed, "I climbed a mountain - I can do anything!"  Though I wouldn't have said it quite like that - or out loud - I felt the same way!  I realized how much more I can and need to push myself and our kids.  We are a lot stronger than I realized.  We all loved it, and it was a sweet victory!  It was also a wonderful reminder to me of why we need those friends who push us to be all that we can be.

I am thankful for my friends - not just in the times that we are literally mountain climbing, but in those times that we are emotionally stuck, or spiritually dry.  I have friends that push in those times also - by praying with and for me, by reprimanding me if needed, by sticking close by, and by reminding me of all that is true and pointing out the lies I am believing!  I thank God for you all!  

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