Man Vs. Mountain - Part 3/3
If you are reading this and have been part of the journey for this entire 3-part blog series, props to you. Thanks for hanging out with me and my thoughts for this brief little climb! It’s an honor adventure with you.
Man Vs Mountain - Part 3
The previous 2 parts to this blog were ultimately about lessons learned within the journey up a mountain. In this final episode, I want to invite you to cast your eyes toward the end of the journey, the destination.
After all, as much as there is to gain along the trip, the trip exists because it is eventually headed somewhere.
Have you ever built something up in your mind so much that when you experience it, you’re left feeling disappointed? Honestly, I believe much of life is like this. We place our hopes and dreams into ambitions that fill the horizons of our minds… yet, many of these, when met, leave us looking to the next horizon. Here’s one of the clearest experiences I’ve ever had like that:
One time on tour, we were driving east across Texas on the I-10. Right around El Paso, TX, we saw an exciting billboard advertising “THE THING”.
So mysterious and intriguing!
It wasn’t long after that we saw another billboard, and another, and then another. At this point, we had resolved we couldn’t miss whatever this thing was! At first we assumed that it must be coming up soon, but after countless billboards, we realized we might be on quite the journey to discover this illustrious treasure.
It turns out that those billboards span over 250 miles (400 km) and advertise an attraction that is in an entirely different state, Arizona.
As we got closer, there was one thing we were sure of…
After hours of building anticipation, we finally arrived at an extremely normal, nondescript Shell gas station in the middle of the desert that was home to “The Thing”. We poured out of the tour bus and ran inside, only to be met with one of the greatest disappointments ever.
It was essentially a small display of wood carvings, which the owners claimed to be a mummified mother and child. We were bummed out about the $5 we each spent to see this astounding attraction, but we mostly felt the pain of punctured hope.
I feel that “The Thing” is simply emblematic of many misplaced hopes in my life. I’ve had many of these, and maybe you have too. They often go like this…
If only I can buy this kind of house…
If only the team I’m cheering for wins…
If only the person I voted for gets into office…
If only I can get away for a vacation…
If only I get a high enough grade…
If only I could get a raise…
If only I could lose this much weight…
If only that girl would notice me…
There are many “if onlys” on the grueling climb of life. They come and they go. And as long as we place our eyes on them as some sort of goal that will bring true hope and fulfillment in life, we will ultimately lose focus on the true goal. The true destination.
Focusing on these distractions prevents us from finishing the journey well. And for me—it might be different for you—that means placing my trust in something much bigger and much greater than myself. It means finding my hope, contentment, and purpose in my Creator, the one who spoke the mountain itself into existence.
I don’t know why I struggle so profoundly to not be distracted by the end game that he has created. I’m confused as to why I am so fickle in trusting that he has the bigger picture in mind.
I know that he’s taking me somewhere.
I know that this somewhere is far better than any “if only” I could ever dream up.
I know that I can trust him.
This mountain, particularly during Covid, is reminding me to focus on things that truly matter:
Things like gratitude - How much has this past year exposed how much we take for granted.
Things like patience - It turns out that slowing down is actually good for our bodies, minds, emotions, everything.
Perseverance - The mountain and its challenges are not the antagonist in this story. My own doubts, worries, and frustrations are the true enemy.
And ultimately trust.
As I shared in the previous episode, this past year and a half has been one of the, if not the, most challenging stretches of this climb for me. People who I trusted hurt me, things that I had invested my life into fell apart, and perhaps worst of all, I came face to face with a serious realization of many of my own shortcomings and failings.
And it sucked.
But I think the reason it sucked the most was not because of the events, but because in reality, I had allowed myself to lose sight of the true destination, the goal that was in mind, the goodness of the story that God has been writing in my life.
And as I’ve learned to trust that more, life has become much more fulfilling and meaningful.
Thanks for climbing with me. It’s a tough journey, but you’re not alone. Let’s walk together as we persevere in the climb, find beauty in the journey, and find purpose in the destination!