Life is difficult.
So says M. Scott Peck in “The Road Less Traveled.” Yet, we solider on, because that’s what we do. One foot in front of the other, even on the cloudy, gloomy days when staying in bed or hiding with a bag of Cheetos sounds much more appealing. I certainly have my gray days, when it feels like somewhere, I made a wrong turn.
Weren’t things supposed to be easier by now?
In the movies; the answer is yes. In real life; not so sure. We look at the outsides of other people and compare them to our insides. And often, we don’t like it.
“They” look happy. Successful. Stress-free. “They” don’t have cellulite. Or past-due notices in their mailbox. Or family members that give them migraines.
While “we” are tired, frustrated, and bored to death with the daily routine. We don’t recognize ourselves in the mirror. We think about that boyfriend or girlfriend we let slip away. We kind of just wish someone would come along and pay our bills and show us where the yellow brick road begins.
Hey, maybe there’s a map somewhere, one that leads to that treasure we all think we’re going to find. But wouldn’t it be ironic if we found the map, and “X” is right where we are right now?
Could it be we’re making things harder than they have to be?
That maybe instead of just dealing with what is going on right now, at this very moment, we’re also still worrying about everything that happened up until now, as well as everything that we think could possibly happen in the future?
Whew, that’s a lot right there.
In the book of meditations known as “God Calling”, edited by A.J. Russell, there is a passage that talks about a hiker, slowly climbing up a mountain, pausing to rest and survey the landscape below. As the hike becomes more and more difficult, the hiker has to stop more often, breathing heavily, his legs burning, his back aching, wondering if he will make it the rest of the way.
Then this question is raised:
What if the hiker put down his backpack and began to take out rocks…one rock for each hike he had ever gone on? What if all along, he’d been hiking up this mountain carrying a pack full of rocks from his entire life? What a load he had put on himself! Now, free of those rocks, he can continue…stronger and lighter, knowing he will make it the rest of the way.
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to carry a lot of rocks around. From childhood. From failed relationships. Bad jobs. Things I should have said. Things I should not have said (those are some big rocks). I even pick up other people’s rocks and try to carry them as well, though I don’t know why.
It seems so simple, yet it can be so hard…stay in the present. Live right now. Just take it a day, a moment at a time. Some days are cloudy. Some days just are the pits. But it’s not going to last forever—and once it’s done, it’s done.
And if that load really is more than you can bear, I believe you don’t have to do it alone.
I’m going to keep climbing. And I’m going to keep my pack as light as I can. Because I’ve lived enough years to be stronger and wiser than I was many years ago. I know I can make it. And I know the view from the top—or from wherever I am at that moment—will be worth it.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”