As a former avid hiker, I can attest to the experience of working to get to the top of a mountain. The trail to the summit is never a straight line, nor a constant steady climb. At times you ascend, but almost as often you may find yourself descending, sometimes for so long that you believe you’re going the wrong way. Only when you see the familiar trail marker on a nearby tree ahead of you do you receive the reassurance that you’re still on the right track. As your twisted trail zigzags along the mountainside, dozens of switchbacks propel you onward, while sharp, thorny bushes and tree limbs smack you mercilessly in the face. Deep in the woods, still hundreds of feet from the summit, you don’t even realize how close to the top you are.
Life can often mirror such a journey. Often we feel we’re off track, off the path, unsure if we’re climbing or descending. We wonder if what we’re doing and where we are right now is where we’re supposed to be. Confusion sets in. We don’t recognize where we are and we may feel uneasy, or worse, terrified. We may say we’ve “lost our way” and become highly emotional about our situation, perhaps even depressed. By not realizing that our present situation is only a temporary leg of the journey, we may decide to give up and turn back, not realizing how close we may have been to something truly amazing. Like a climb to a mountain’s summit, life is a process, and like snowflakes and fingerprints, no two paths are alike. It’s best to refrain from beating yourself up. Keep moving forward. Understand that where you are now is just part of your own journey toward your own mountaintop and you may be closer than you realize. Enjoy the climb.