I really can’t believe this is happening.
In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t even want to post this.
It’s not so much that I’m ashamed, as I am embarrassed.
I am stunned that such a thought could even enter my mind.
But it did.
Let me give a little background…
I’m a music guy.
Not so much playing it as listening to it.
Maybe even analyzing it a but.
I love it.
And so often music speaks so clearly into my life.
But this song…really?
Let’s go back and see how this could have taken shape…
I spent some time a few weeks ago in Colorado with a group of amazing guys.
It’s hard to imagine that only two years ago, we were all complete strangers.
But we were.
Over the course of time spent together for a week each fall since 2008, and conversations and emails that had taken place during the in-between, we somehow managed to become brothers.
We’d spent time in Estes Park, CO; San Diego, CA; and this year in Crested Butte, CO.
There was a slower pace in the town around us, which, quite honestly, was perfectly fitting perfect setting.
The theme of the year was the idea of what it means to finish well.
Taking the principles of balance from Year One and the importance of community from Year Two led us to our path for this year, and built a foundation for years to come.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 3:12-14 (TNIV)
On our Thursday afternoon, we had a goal.
We were going to summit a mountain with a 13,400′ peak.
This would be our lasting impression of the three years together.
We would conquer something significant, and finish well to see the glorious view from the top.
That was the plan.
Not everyone made it.
I didn’t make it.
Out of breath from the thinner air, breathing heavily trying to suck in the oxygen I required, and with a sore ankle from the previous day’s hike, I simply reached a place where I could push myself no more.
And then I turned around and saw how far I had come from the first stopping point where I had wanted to quit.
It was so far away.
Then I turned back toward the destination, and I could no longer see the peak.
I was that close.
So I tried to go further, but could not.
It was disappointing to say the least.
And then my mind began to float back to the morning’s discussion about Moses and about how he never got to finish what he started.
He never stepped foot in the Promised Land.
I turned back around to see the place I had wanted to quit before.
And became less disappointed, and more thankful for having been given the strength to move on.
My eyes shifted from that place of shame upward and around at the creation I was surrounded by.
Then it started to make sense.
The climb is the beautiful thing.
Not the peak, not seeing the other side.
Yes, those things are great, but the journey…the journey is where there is growth.
The fighting against what your body wants you to do and the provision of God to give strength that you can in no way muster on your own, there is nothing quite like that.
I only regret not having realized that on the way up.
Paying such close attention to the steps I had to make right then to ultimately reach my goal and looking ahead to the peak I so longed to defeat, I failed to realize the beauty that surrounded me in those moments.
The finish line is important.
Having a plan to get there is important.
But to stop and enjoy the beauty and challenge of the place you are in is just as important.
And that has very little to do with a mountain.