One of my best and truest friends turned 40 a few days ago.
In this weird, always trying to see the wonderful, season of life, what would have been a large, possibly lavish, crowded blowout, had to take on a very different, though no less special turn.
We celebrated, just the two of us, last Saturday, with a day trip to a new hiking venue and a delicious dinner at a new restaurant.
This isn’t a new thing for us, we’ve been celebrating each other for 17 years and though it wasn’t ever for a pandemic, we have had to pivot plenty of other times and have found a sort of comfort in each being pliable enough to do that…a mark of true friendship.
Catharsis isn’t new for me…my mind never shuts off…like EVER!!!! I do, however, try to make it as healthy a process as I can.
On this particular trip, amongst all the wonderful conversation, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the devotions I had been reading and the actual hike itself.
The overwhelming message of this year, so far, has been that the waiting, stillness, the pause, the silence, the unknown has just as much purpose and meaning as whatever we want to call the the thing at the end of it. That’s a frustrating notion, I know, believe me! I feel like my whole life has been spent being anxious about what next, or isn’t here yet…the health/wellness, financial stability, a career, self esteem, Mr. Right, the perfect answers, the right questions, what I should be doing/what I want to do, who I should be/who I want to be…to the literal thought “I should be thinking about/pondering/planning right now, right”…
That sounds exhausting, doesn’t it!?! You are right…it’s been more exhausting than actually climbing a trail called “Vertical Mile”.
However, I have been attempting to try to slow down a bit, to “try” a little less, to hit pause more, to find peace in the silence…
How fruitful to find out that there is more going on in the unseen, unheard, unknown than I ever could have realized…and now we’ve arrived at the point of this post…
When Ash and I started hiking, it was NOT easy. I was about 70lbs heavier and though I’ve always been determined and active (as in I could do it), it didn’t come without the breathless complaining and wishing it was over a few minutes in. The labored breath was nothing compared to how uncomfortable it was, at first, that being outdoors was the only thing that quieted my thoughts enough for them to make sense.
There have been so many times when hikes and camping were the only times I felt like I had anything figured out, because, not much matters out there, except what is right in front of you…you are forced to be present and you experience everything it has to offer you.
It’s this virtually effortless thing that I crave now…presence, awareness, intentionality, just being…
We were in the middle of our assent of that Vertical Mile and were stopping for a second or third breather when lyrics to a song that isn’t particularly special to me were the only thing I could hear for a few minuets.
“There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb”
That might seem like a pessimistic way to view life (and that’s unlike me) but I have found very fitting, for my life at least. All of our hopes, dreams and desires take so much work that there are days we aren’t sure they are even worth it…
But during that breather, we turned around, hearts pounding and breathless, to see the view and from only a quarter in, it was pretty spectacular!! You know what else was pretty darn cool? We were both smiling ridiculously wide smiles of triumph. We are never in a rush to get to the top and take in each and everything there is to see/feel along the way.
I use to hate the feeling of my labored breath…it made me believe all the lies I told myself…it made me feel weak…
Today, it’s one of my favorite feelings because it let’s me know that I am alive and that I’ve just gotten through something difficult and that if I need to, I can take a break and rest, until the next hard thing and when I look back, I’ll see all the remarkable things that happened inbetween.
I have to disagree with Miley here and say that, most of the time it is about what is waiting on the other side, because we really want all of those things BUT the speed is something I think we can agree on.
Patience isn’t easy for anyone but I am learning that it’s a gift…A gift that if practiced, will pleasantly surprise us, if we let it.
What I am really trying to say here is, let yourself go a little bit…be gentle with yourself on your way to living your dreams…take time to pause, breath in everything/everyone around you and keep going at pace that is all yours and rest in the inbetweens…
After all, some of those hopes and dreams might just be found there ❤