“We’ve buried dreams, laid them deep into the earth behind us. Said our goodbyes at the grave but everything reminds us. I know sweet ache when he asks us to go on. How do we go on?” (Red Sea Road–Ellie Holcomb)
I placed one foot in front of the other as we hiked up the path to the top of Estes Cone. My friends Scott, Kristi and Jim leading the way. I started out determined to get to the top of that mountain. Scott and Kristi, avid hikers, reminding me to regulate my breathing as we hiked along.
Soon we came to the site of an old coal mine where we stopped and took a rest. Horses and riders also stopped to rest. We trudged around the horse manure as we found our way back to the path.
The higher and higher we got, the more switchbacks we encountered. I found myself struggling to go any further. My whiny voice crying out, “I don’t think I can go any further.” My friends encouraging me every step of the year. Kristi telling me to pretend I am window shopping.
In the midst of both laughter and tears, I continued up that hill wondering if I would be able to surrender to it all. One step in front of the other, continuing steps as I went. Up some of the most treacherous of switchbacks, I looked out and was overcome with the awesomeness of God’s creation set before me. It literally took my breathe away.
The views gave me some of the life and hope I needed to continue on. Scott went up ahead of us. Kristi, Jim, and I slowly worked our way; switchback after switchback after switchback. As we were coming up another hard switchback, some of our other friends told us that Scott was busy administering first aid (Scott volunteers for Mountain Rescue and is always well prepared)
As we found our way closer to the summit, Scott and the gentlemen he had been helping were coming down the mountain. I sat down and cried out. “I can’t go any further.” Scott asked Kristi and Jim if they wanted to continue on so they did.
Scott worked his way down to me. He looked at me and said, “Here’s the deal. There is a chapel already ready for you. There is an altar, part of a cross, and water. I am going to go ahead and you take your time and do what you need to do.” Before heading off before me, Scott made me a makeshift cross so that my chapel would be complete. (You can read more about that experience here: My Little Chapel on the Side of the Mountain)
As he left, I turned on my phone and the songs to Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road began playing. Immediately tears began trickling down my face as I buried a small token in the rocks. And as I listened to the words of Ellie’s song, I lifted prayers to God. As they rose to him, a sense of relief and peace came over me. It was a simple letting go of the past and looking towards what was to come in the future.
I wiped the tears from my eyes and briskly walked to catch up with my friend. In silence, we hiked along until we came to a clearing in the trees. Scott pointed and simply stated, “You were about 300 feet from the base of the summit.” Feelings of accomplishment and a little bit of anger came over me. I was so close to making it to the very top of that summit. Something I have always wanted to do.
We hiked until we found our way back to the trail head. At the trail head, Scott shared three different items with me; items found along the path– two different pine cones and a prairie flower. These items were to be a reminder of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also reminds me that I did more than I ever had done before. I may not have made it all the way to the top, but I did surrender to the summit. In fact, surrendering to God’s will is beyond our limits which is how I made it almost to the very tip top of Estes Cone.
The next day, in our morning session at the academy, Scott shared these words with me. “You cannot stay on the summit forever, You have to come down again…So why bother in the first place? Just this: what is above knows what is below; But what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, But one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up.”–Rene Dumal
Today I am linking up with Holly and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Porch Stories.