February 5, 2003
Iíve climbed a mountain or two in my day, albeit very small ones. Climbing a sheer rock face holds no appeal at all for me, but I love scrambling over boulders. Why? Maybe because they are mini-challenges that allow me to exercise my strength without seriously endangering me. And I have certainly stumbled over my share of pebbles!
Pebbles can be dangerous. They can unbalance your footing enough to cause you to go tumbling down the mountain, but most often youíre more likely to end up with no more than a skinned knee. We get annoyed at pebbles, but we donít really fear them. Compare this to the mountain itself. Mountains are intimidating, which is silly, when you think about it. Sure, theyíre big, but a mountain isnít going to hurt you. If you get hurt while climbing a mountain, itís from something you encountered on the way up. Even an avalanche is the rocks and dirt that make up the mountain. OK, perhaps Iím splitting hairs here. Iíll agree that a mountain is made up of the pebbles and dirt that can hurt you, but the point is, most people are not afraid of either pebbles or dirt. Nor should they be. But if you are standing at the base of the mountain looking up, it looks like a long, hard hike.
Itís like the major goals we have in our lives. If you look up at the mountain, it looms over you in an intimidating manner. However, if you steadily make your way over the pebbles and roots and dirt and assorted smaller dangers and impediments in your path, you will eventually reach the top. Yes, you need to look up towards the top now and then for inspiration to keep on climbing, but you also need to keep your feet on the ground and watch where youíre going. Every pebble you deal with, whether it causes you to stumble or whether you see it in time to go around it, brings you that much closer to the top. And you can deal with pebbles, right? Even if you fall and skin your knee, you just slap on a bandage and keep on climbing, because you arenít about to go back, and you could fall just as easily going down as going up.
So keep on picking yourself up when you trip over the pebbles in the way. Rest a bit if you need to, then keep on going. Itíll be worth the scratches and scars and aches and pains when you see the view from the top!