I’m no fan of hiking.
I’ve been hiking before. It’s exhilarating, it’s a good test of endurance, it shows what you’re made of and all other such things, but I’m no fan of hiking. Why? I’m no fan of hiking because the hike-masters never give you the correct hiking time or rating. I ask, ‘What’s the rating?’ I’m told, ‘Oh, about a beginner’s level…it’ll take you 90 minutes return.’ I say, ‘Okay…what the heck! I’ll try it.’
90-minutes return! Seriously! 90 minutes and we’re not even done with the first leg! We’re still on our way to our destination. We have been trekking for quite some time now and I haven’t seen the mountaintop yet! So, Mr/Ms Hike Master, when you said, ’90 minutes return’ did you mean 90 consecutive minutes? Because, by the looks of it and the burning in my legs, you and I couldn’t be measuring minutes in the same way! Or maybe, Mr/Ms Hike Master, you measure a minute by more than 60 seconds!
This has always been my experience with hiking.
And then we get to the destination and I am blown away. It’s beautiful, it’s serene, invigorating. It’s more than I could have imagined. I feel like Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal who, in 1953, became the first explorers to reach the top of Mount Everest. My little exploit is nothing compared to theirs, but my sense of accomplishment is comparable, I’m sure.
So, what was all that fussing about? Yeah, well, that’s who I am. I fuss, but then I buckle down and rise to the challenge.
What do I enjoy about the mountaintop to which the hike leads? Let me share with you:
- The Serenity: The mountaintop separates me from the crowd, from the distractions. It takes my eyes off the things of the earth and allows me to focus on the prize. The mountaintop is where I reconnect with myself, my Maker and receive greater detail about my True North.
- The Rest: The higher ground that is the mountaintop helps me find rest, peace and joy. The fulfilment of having achieved the milestone allows me to rest. Note, I say ‘rest’ and not ‘stop’. During that rest, it allows me to review where I have come from, what have been the lessons learnt, and how I use the lessons to move forward. It’s difficult to assess these things when I’m on the move, so the rest plays a critical role in how I go forward.
- The View: There is such a beautiful view from the higher ground – I can see all around me, further ahead of me. It takes time and commitment to separate myself, but isolation on the mountaintop does a lot to extend and enhance my view. The elevation of the mountaintop sharpens my view. This is something I’m prepared to work for.
- My values: We use the term ‘higher ground’ to refer to our morals and values. Well, this place of rest as described above, allows me to assess the extent to which I have gotten to my target remaining true to who I am and who I’m called to be. Being true to self rests heavily on my values and the morals to which I subscribe. It’s important that these not be sacrificed along the way.
- The Prize: Of course, the most exhilarating part about the mountaintop is the value of the exertion – the prize. A prize is all the more cherished the greater the pain endured to achieve it. Who wants a carelessly or easily earned prize, right? Forgive me if I sound a bit like a sucker for punishment, but the greater the pain, the more valuable the lesson and the further the lessons take me. Furthermore, lessons learnt the hard way are hardly every forgotten.
I’m sure you have had your mountaintop experiences. Think of what they brought you. Think of what you had to endure to get there. Think of the security and serenity that you enjoyed while you were there. Now, use all of these to fuel you as you propel your way forward.
The mountaintop – not many make it…but how about ensuring that you’re one of those who do? Allow your head to be lifted up above everything around you and enjoy the goodness that is offered to you in the land of the living.
My friends, the mountaintop awaits you. Journey through the foliage, the dirt, the rocks, the stumbling points, the rivers. Your place on the mountaintop awaits you. There’s one specially reserved for you!
Love, peace and joy.