Friday, May 7, 2010

The Incline, and The Lesson Behind It



Two days ago, I overcame the incline.
Two days ago, I told myself that I couldn't do it.
Two days ago, I was told I couldn't do it.
But I did it anyway.
And although I spent yesterday in pain, and I have a huge ugly bruise, cut and scratch on my right hip from falling on the way down, it was something meaningful to me.

You're probably expecting me to say something like, "This is an example of life, you just have to take it step-by-step" or, "You have to overcome the hard parts to get the finish". You know, what everyone who climbs a huge mountain and didn't think they could do it says after they accomplish it.
But my lesson came from afterwards, as I spent my day on the couch, in my pajamas, and not walking anywhere because my hips felt like Prince's probably did after all his dance moves and right before that hip replacement surgery.
Yes, hiking the incline is an example of taking one more step, and continuing on. Not just to finish climbing a mountain, but in life in general. Yes, hiking the incline was an example of life, how you have to go through the ugly parts to get to the beautiful finish.
But my lesson was different.

I started climbing, and got past the beginning few steps, and was huffing and puffing. We took a minute to stretch at a "stretching spot", and continued on our way. I huffed and puffed all the way through. I kept my mouth shut most of the time, because I knew if I were to open it, I'd come out with something like, "This is the most horrible miserable thing I've ever done and I want to turn back." But I knew I couldn't ruin Chris's birthday, and needed to get to the top-for him-so he could have the ultimate birthday gift. I slowly but surely made my way to the top, thinking that I would never make it. I pictured in my head me falling backwards, and rolling, and rolling and rolling until I got to the very bottom. Because I knew if I even missed a little step, I'd be in serious trouble, because that fall would be more miserable than where I was right then.
But I kept my eyes focused on my feet, where I placed them, and where they would be going. I had to be sure that my clumsy self wouldn't even miss a beat. We all know how easily it would be for me to either fall down, or turn my stubborn self around and make my way back to the start.
But like I said, I kept going. When I got to the top, I didn't feel as accomplished as I thought I would. I had just simply made it to the top (with great relief, and hope of never having to do it ever again because it was THAT miserable).
When we started down, I knew I was in trouble. The loose gravel combined with the steepness, I was tripping and slipping. Finally the steepness went away, and it was kindof flat ground. But still, the loose gravel was there. I held onto Chris the entire time, because I knew if I let go, I would fall. I ran down steep parts, only to run into him so I wouldn't fall. I would grab his t-shirt, in desperate attempt to stay vertical. I would hold onto his hand for dear life, making sure that he'd hold me up so I would not break my ankles. It was terrible. At one point I even actually fell, and it hurt a lot more than I let on.
When we got to the bottom, Chris gave me a piggy back ride to his car.
And I got in the car, took off my shoes, and slept until we got to eat.
I spent my whole day with Chris, keeping my mind off of the pain I was actually in.
I spent a lot of time sleeping, and relaxing.
When I got home, I tossed and turned in bed for hours on end because my body was in absolute pain.
Yesterday, I woke up, and it hurt to stand. It hurt to move. Even a hot shower didn't help, because my neck is miserably sunburnt.
(I know, I'm a wimp, and I am a whiner. But someday, I'll be beastly. But not so much now.)
Yesterday, as I sat on the couch, I realized what God was teaching me.
God was teaching me to do what He wanted, to make Him happy.
No matter how miserable.
I wanted Chris to have a great birthday, so I sucked it up, and went anyway. I smiled and bit my tongue the whole way.
In order to follow Christ, you have to go against your human nature. You have to go against that grain, saying you have to sin in order to have fun. You have to overcome your sinful nature, and become more like Christ. No matter how much it hurt.
And yesterday, as I sat in pain, I realized that it's painful sometimes to follow Christ. But it makes you feel better in the end.
Deciding to follow Christ is a huge leap. You have to climb those stairs one by one and do whatever you can to suck it up, because you know it's only to love Him better.
And afterwards, it's the most excruciating pain.
That choice to stop doing drugs, is a miserable experience. But the afterwards, when you're going through withdrawls, and everything hurts, it's even harder to say no. But you do, because you know you'll be healthier and happier in the end.
That choice to stop hanging out with that one guy, because all they do is suck the life out of you, is a miserable decision. But the afterwards, of keeping that up, and choosing to say no even when they continue to contact you, and tell you they're sorry and want to talk again, is horrific. But you know in the end, you'll be happier and healthier.
Yesterday, climbing the incline with Chris, it was hard. But afterwards, it was HORRIFIC. But there is that underlying joy of giving him the birthday he wanted.
That choice to become a Christian is a hard one, because Christianity is so skewed in today's world. But that choice to live your life for Christ, is hard because you have to completely change your lifestyle, who you're with, what you do, how you spend your time, the words you say, and even dressing more modest if necessary. It's ugly, and it's hard. But there is that underlying joy of the fact that because of that choice, you'll get to spend eternity with Christ in Heaven.

And there's nothing more beautiful than that.

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