The mountain was around 10,000-11,000 feet. I don’t even remember the name of it. Of course, it was covered with snow, but I was ready for it. From the start of the trail to the top of that mountain was about 11 miles total round trip and it was sure to be a good time. After all, I had never hiked up a peak as high as that being a Tennessee girl. My two friends and I made it up just about to the highest point, when I began to feel sick. Weakness, nausea, and fatigue came on fairly quickly. At first, I thought I’d just suck it up and be a big girl about it……and I didn’t want to be called a weenie later on. However, I took a turn for the worse when I began to not be able to think straight. I realized that while I still had my wherewithal, I should tell my friends. “I just want you to know, that if you hear a thunk in the snow, it’s probably me,” I told them. I guess that sounded pretty serious to them, so they stopped and I vaguely remember them asking me questions and coming up with a plan. Since we were already halfway through the loop, we had no alternative, but to finish the trail we were which would be heading down the mountain thus lower elevation. You see, I had the onset of altitude sickness. They made me hike between them so I could follow one and the other could keep an eye on me.
The hike back down was miserable. Never had I felt so sick or so tired….at least while hiking. I would see the pockets of sunshine bearing down on the snow and would have to fight the temptation of just laying down. I wanted to sleep so badly. With whatever clarity of thought I had left, I kept hearing in the back of my head, ”one step, one step”. I stopped focusing on how bad I felt or how much I wanted to quit and just sleep. Instead, I focused on each step my foot would make. I stopped focusing on how far I still had to go, but instead I focused only on the one step my foot would have to take.
One step after another helped me finish the hike. Not only did I finish what I started entirely, but I also felt increasingly better as I lowered elevation and warmer temps. It was not only endurance, but overcoming the hardship.
Isn’t that how we are at times when it comes to our walk as Christians? We know where we are, but can see where we need to be. Seeing where I need to be as a Christian at times can seem as big and daunting as climbing a mountain. Sometimes all I see is how big it is and how long it’s going to take. Sometimes I just want to lie down and quit. The challenges in this life sometimes make this walk seem impossible and almost unbearable. I have to remind myself at times to keep my eyes on the One that I follow and that each step forward is a victory.
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. Psalm 139:7-12