Moving ahead

Gazing far up ahead, it feels like you will never, ever make it. Your destination is way off in the distance. Too far away. Barely visible. You have a long way to go. Tired, you are so tired. Weary. Everything aches. The distance is definitely more than you can manage.

Sighing, you think: This canyon is larger than you can possibly cross; your facing an ocean bigger than your canoe; a cliff that gets taller each step of the way. You’re finished – done. It’s over. Or so it seems right now, anyway.

“How will I ever get there?” you wonder.

Oh, it seemed like a good idea when you set out, such a long time ago. It was a noble vision; a worthwhile goal. You were going to make a big difference and change the world, for the better. Yes, sir. It felt good to say where you were going. Friends offered their encouragement and support. Momentum was building. Things were coming together. This was going to be great! And it was exciting to talk about. Such a lofty purpose you had. Right to the top, that is where you were headed. Straight up. And you were their friend.

Nods of approval were noticed. You would be the next Mother Teresa, the next Hudson Taylor, the next Winston Churchill, the next Dorthy Day, the next…glancing back down, you’re not even half way there – and now, you’re all alone.

“Did I aim too high?” “Is it time to settle for something else?”

These questions, and others like them, seem to have taken over your mind – that is, when you can even think. Confidence has been crowded out; confusion has settled in. “What in the world am I doing way up here?” you ask again, hanging your head. Why did it have to be Everest when it could have been Kilimanjaro, Mount St. Helens, or even the K2? No idea. You had no idea what you were getting into, what you were signing up for, what this was going to cost you. Too much. That is how it feels right now. It is costing way too much.

Youthful idealism has been overcome by cold, hard, reality. And it hurts.

But you have come so far. Does it make sense to turn back now? Is that even possible? Bridges have been burned. Commitments have been made. People are counting on you now. You are needed, necessary. Your duty must be done. When it comes to options, there are really very few. What would happen to you, to others, if you stopped trying, stopped moving ahead? What would it mean to go back now?

Frozen, staring, stuck – slowly you begin to move.

Resolve begins to build as you inch ahead. Rome wasn’t built in a day. There must be others, somewhere, just like you – struggling, straining, trying again. And maybe, just maybe you will make it after all. No, you will make it. That’s right.

“I will make it!” echoes across the canyon walls. Have to make it. Must make it.

A deep breath, and you lunge forward, scattering shale that crackles on its way down. Another foot or two and you just might reach that ledge. The rope is taut, and your whole body aches. But finally, you pull yourself over the edge and are perched on a small platform, high above the canyon floor, catching your breath.

Looking around, suddenly you notice the beauty of the valley far below. It is striking, stunning – really. And the sun seems to be shining straight at you. It is quiet, so quiet, and it feels like there is someone else present, right there with you. Strange. How could that be? Was that an eagle that just flew by?

And it is all coming back to you now: the dream, the vision, the goal, why it matters, why it is worth the cost. Nobody said it was going to be easy. Nobody said it would always feel good. They didn’t and it doesn’t.

But you have come this far, and you will carry on. You will finish this journey one way or another. Somehow you will reach the top.

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