Trekking through Life
In this Wisdom Note, we will compare how taking a hike or trek has so many analogies to our daily trek of life.
As we consider this analogy, most often it comes to our minds that we want to be on the mountaintops all the time and avoid the deep valleys at all cost. What we may fail to realize is that in order to reach the summit of a mountain, we have to traverse upwards on many rough and winding trails. Once we do reach the mountain tops, if we desire to continue on with life, then we must move forward, which will require that we head back down into the valleys of life.
Climbing high mountains in life can be just as difficult and challenging as when we feel we are in the lowest of valleys.
Most of us do tend to associate difficult times in our lives with the idea of being in a valley. Maybe it’s a time of depression or despair. Maybe you’ve lost your job or are struggling financially. Maybe your job performance is just suffering. Maybe it’s a relationship that is broken and appears to be shattered.
I prefer to look at life more as seasons than mountains and valleys. Each of us experiences the upward climbs and the downward slopes, sometimes multiple times each day. There are seasons of life that are hard, terribly hard. During the difficult times, it seems our world is pitch black, and we are stuck in the valley of despair. We don’t know if a new day will dawn, or if the sun will ever peak above the next mountain. How should we handle these situations?
I realize there are some that have been mired in the valley for years, but that is usually the exception. One personal practice that I try to remember when times are difficult is to ask myself the question, “What crisis was I having or what was I worrying about last year on this same day?” Usually, I have no clue. Then I remind myself, so shall it be next year. The momentary crisis of today will pass like the storm in the night, and soon we will see a new day dawning with all of its glorious radiance.
One truth that we tend to forget is if we want to reach the summit, climbing the mountain is also challenging. It may mean that we indeed need to make that difficult climb in order to see the sun.
As we travel between North Carolina and Ohio many times each year, we pass through the entire length of West Virginia. While the mountains in WV are not nearly as tall as the Rockies, there are ravines between the mountains that are so close together they receive very little sun. So, if you live up one of those hollers, then you do have to climb the mountain to see the sun. So it is with life. If you find yourself in constant shadows, you may need to make the difficult choices and change your circumstances so that you will see and feel the warm sunlight on your face.
If you find yourself in a valley and at the base of the mountain, start climbing. But, realize that in order to reach the top, you will have to put forth more effort to climb than to remain wallowing in the mire of the valley floor. Be resolute. Be prepared. And, keep climbing. You will never see the beauty of the mountain peak unless you are willing to put in the effort of the climb.
The times of success and ease in your life, when it appears that God’s blessings are being showered on you, can be just as challenging as the times in the valleys, just in a different way. The upward climb is actually much more difficult than heading back into the valley, but it is so worth the effort. If you learn and gain wisdom from each mountain top and valley experience, then each climb will take you a little higher, and each descent into a valley will not be as deep.
The truth is whether you are climbing the mountains or descending into the valleys, life may be difficult. The times when we get to rest on the mountain tops can be grand, so learn to relax, enjoy, and celebrate those times. The times when we are in the valleys are just as important, so learn to reflect, enjoy, and learn from those times.
Mountains and valleys are the realities of life. This challenges an immature line of thinking that many of us cling to – that life one day will be easy. If you learn from and apply the lessons of life, there may be seasons of rest and enjoyment, but if you are waiting to move onto easy street permanently…if it is your life’s ambition to find ease and comfort, you’re going to be waiting a long time.
Winston Churchill put it this way, “Mountaintops inspire leaders; valleys mature them.”
As a follower of Christ in times of difficulty or ease, I go to the source of all wisdom, The Bible, for strength and peace. Today let’s look at a Psalm that King David penned. Psalm 121 helps us on our trek of life.
“I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.”
This passage allows us to realize that we are not on this trek alone. In addition to having each other to assist, we can depend on God to have our best interest in mind.
Regardless of how high your mountains or how deep your valleys Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Everyday!