Today I woke up felling a jumbled mixture of glad and sad. Glad to have made it back from Morocco in one piece, glad to see my family, glad for all the exciting prospects on the horizon… I won’t start listing the sad’s before I throw in the towel and book the first ticket back to Marrakech. It’s not even as if I had an activity filled holiday but those five days away were just what the doctor ordered. For the most part of the holiday I ate…a lot… way too much in fact… Granny even commented on my fresh-chubby appearance… someone needs to get me a gym membership for Christmas, anyway I digress, but on Monday 14th December I had one of the proudest moments I’ve had all year.
Climbing over 2000 feet of the Atlas Mountains taught me a whole lot about myself, apart from the fact that I’ve become seriously unfit (big hint in case you missed the other one that I’d really like a gym membership from Santa).
1) Nothing is impossible
There’s nothing worse than having to eat your words, and this hike had me swallowing a whole bunch of mine. As we half feared for our lives, ( driving in Morocco is not for the faint-hearted) and half admired the view, we noticed some ‘bridges’ that had been built by the inhabitants to cross the stream that ran through the mountain. One of my friends asked if I would be happy to walk along the wooden planks to get to the other side and without even thinking I said ‘hell to the never in hell’. I even laughed as I dismissed the whole idea thinking the van I was in would be taking me all the way to the top. Oh was I wrong! I was unpleasantly surprised to find out I would not only be climbing the mountain from half way up but would be climbing, even crossing the stream on even more rickety bridges. I couldn’t believe that there was no other way to the other side and that if I slipped I would be plunged into an icy bath in front of strangers. As I clutched onto Tarzan (our tour guide) and crossed to the other side, I just had to laugh at my earlier comment.
What are you laughing at the mere thought of doing? I’m so sure God listens to our exclamations and laughs. I’m always throwing ‘I’d never do’s’ about and just having to shake my head as I do that very thing. God might be giving you a task that seems way over your head (it probably is) but don’t be surprised when God makes sure you cross the rickety bridge and make it over alive (and dry).
2) Just because you can’t see a way out doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
I wish I could show you a picture of the lack-of-path we took up the mountain, but I was too busy slipping and sliding on rocks for a Kodak Moment. At each pit stop I would look up at the pile of rocks ahead and wonder just how we were going to make it past, and each time I was amazed at how Tarzan made it seem like child’s play and we followed his lead. If I stared up for too long, it all seemed a bit too impossible to bother to take the next step, but keeping my head down, just focusing on the step ahead of me, meant before I knew it I had made it a few more feet in the right direction.
When we reached the end of the climb I stood there and smiled at God. It may have taken me 4 hours on a plane ride and 2 hours up a mountain but I finally got it: As long as I can focus on the next step, the rest of the journey can worry about itself.
3) Making it to the top is worth it.
I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to stop along the way. I think the only reason I kept on going was the feeling that I had conquered something and the fact that going back the way I came would be even more scary than climbing up. But when I reached the top, all the toil and the fear along the way melted away as I took in the awe inspiring view. It took my breath away, and suddenly everything seemed worth it. I know this is sounding corny but I really did nearly cry as I looked at the snow peaked surrounding mountain tops that were now at eye level.
This journey we call life is a toughie. Sometimes the going gets so tough we get tempted to stop the climb but I promise you that the view from the top is worth it. It’s easy to give up when you don’t know what you’re missing out on, but believe me when I say it’s not worth the risk. Don’t miss out on what’s at the top of the mountain you’re climbing.
I may be back in rainy England and my Palm tree studded holiday is feeling like a lifetime ago, but memories of what I learned on the Atlas Mountains will stay with me forever.
To God, who didn’t let me fall in the river, I thank you.
Dee Cee xxxx