Ever heard of Indiana’s Mt. Baldy? This is how Wikipedia describes Mt. Baldy:
Mount Baldy is a sand dune located in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It is the tallest sand dune on the southern shore of Lake Michigan and is 123 feet tall.
This is how I describe Mt. Baldy:
Darn near killed me.
About twenty years ago, my husband and our three beautiful little girls (Emily, Brittany, and Stephany) visited friends in northern Indiana. Someone thought it’d be a great idea to climb Mt. Baldy. After suffering much abuse from this endless sand dune, no one wanted to own up to WHO’s idea it was. Even if they wanted to own up to it – they couldn’t. No breath = no voice.
Along the relentless, steep, upward climb, we paused a few times – probably more than a few, but who’s counting? There were three or four times when I came to a complete stop and actually looked behind me – gauging whether going back down was an option.
Each time, however, I saw how far I’d come and decided to keep going. The steps I’d accomplished (and lived to tell about) gave me confidence to continue my journey.
When we reached the top, there were just a few little shade trees to be found. Other climbers, gasping for breath were crowded around most of the shade (some were even laid out, like they were making snow angels… but without moving. My sweaty, unable to speak, and exhausted little group huddled around the nearest little tree. There was an incredible sense of accomplishment, in spite of the physical exhaustion.
We’d made it!
It felt pretty darn cool to have completed such a grueling, physical task. Seriously, you can’t imagine how STEEP that climb was – and in sand, no less! Each step seemed like you were taking about 10 because you kept sinking with each step.
And did I mention it was August? H-O-T!
When I remembered how to activate my senses, I stood up and, with three little girls who I’m pretty sure were laughing at me, looked around at the view. If I’d had any breath, it would have taken it away.
The view was spectacular. It’s something I’ve never forgotten – even after 20 years. I remember how proud I was of the accomplishment and I remember how beautiful everything was – just like it was yesterday.
Over the years, a lot has changed. Our friends no longer live in northern Indiana… I believe Mt. Baldy is now closed to the public…. Our girls are still beautiful, but only their father could still consider them “little girls.”
No matter how many things have changed, one thing remains the same: The “Mt. Baldy Lesson” still holds true.
Life, like Mt. Baldy, can sometimes be a steep climb. There are times when we kind of stall in our steps – emotionally wrung out and spiritually exhausted – and wonder how we can possibly take another step. It’s times like this when we should just pause and look at the progress we’ve made.
The steps we made and lived to tell about.
A few things we need to keep in mind during the climb:
- There’s a difference between pausing and stopping. Pausing says, “OK. Let me regroup, then I’ll continue.” Stopping says, “Done.”
- No one ever said it was going to be easy.
- If we stop, we’ll just have to start all over again. Then, any progress will have been wasted.
- When you pause, look back at how far you’ve come. Use that as motivation to go a little further. Then, pause again. Look back again. Keep using the steps you’ve taken to fuel the ones you have left.
- No matter which one of life’s steep journeys you’re on, remember that stopping isn’t an option. The only way you’re going to get there is to keep going.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you feel tired or “wrung out.” Just keep going – even a shaky step is still a step.
- No one else can understand your journey unless they’ve walked in your steps. If I were to mention “Mt. Baldy” to my husband and daughters, they’d grimace. They walked the walk so they know the talk. If I mentioned “Mt. Baldy” to my favorite cashier at Kroger, she wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about. She might even say something like, “Oh, it couldn’t have been that bad.” Then she wouldn’t be my favorite cashier anymore.
- The view from the top is something you’ll never forget.
Again, twenty years later, the experience is still something I remember vividly – just like it was yesterday.
Find your strength. Keep going. You will make it.