"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb." - Nelson Mandela
My arms are shaking. Every muscle, even the ones I didn’t know I had, quiver with the exertion of just holding on to the rock. My hands are bleeding from the sharpness of the handholds, and my palms sweat as they always do when I most need them not to.
Looking down probably isn’t the best idea in the world, but I do anyway. Is there any way of climbing down safely before I kill myself on this thing? Nope. Can’t go back now. That would probably ensure falling rather than prevent it. I will simply have to continue, there is no alternative.
Sometime later I reach my goal, the summit that I had been pursuing so tenaciously. I reach up with my right hand to grasp the last handhold and pull myself up to the ledge. With one last great expense of effort I haul myself onto the surface and lay down, breathing heavily.
Eyes closed, with the sun on my face and the cool rock against my back, I smile. I did it! I made it! I didn’t quit, give up, or fail. I open my eyes to let out a triumphant yell, but instead of a yell, I let out a groan.
I’m not done. Where I’m sitting, isn’t a summit at all. It’s just a ledge. The summit is much farther up; I just couldn’t see the actual summit until I had gotten past this one.
I begin to analyze the next part of this formation. It’s going to be much, much harder than the one I just finished.
Well this is just wonderful! I’m tired. I’m sore. My arms are still shaking. I just got past one challenge and now I have to conquer another one? Ugg.
I lean up against the rock and draw my knees to my chest, resting my arms on them.
“Really God?” I ask. “Really?”
“Yep.” Says the Voice beside me.
We sit in silence for a few minutes, and then I ask.
“So do I really have to keep going? This next part is going to be a lot harder you know.”
“I know.” He replies. “It will always get harder. As you get stronger, the climb gets harder. If there was no challenge, there would be no growth, Alaina. You can’t keep climbing the same twenty feet of rock once you’ve conquered it. You have to keep moving forward.”
“But I know this rock now. I could climb it faster and better. I know what I’m doing.”
He smiled. “I know. So we go to a new rock, so that you will have to keep looking to me to direct you. You get independent too fast, little one, if we stayed here, you would soon forget to ask me for guidance.”
Much as I’d have liked to, I couldn’t argue with that.
“So, is this the end? Will this one be the destination?”
He smiled again. “The only way for you to know that, is to climb it.”
I made a face. I’d have much preferred knowing exactly how far off the destination was, or even what it was for that matter.
“That which is required of you will never exceed the strength you’ve been given. I will never ask too much, Alaina.”
I looked at Him, saying nothing.
He smiled at me. “We’ve come too far to go back now, dearheart. You know that.”
I cocked my head and grinned. “Yep.”
“And I haven’t left you yet.”
“So,” He said “what are you going to do?”
I looked up the side of the cliff toward the sky and smiled.
“Keep moving forward.”
"A well-ordered life is like climbing a tower; the view halfway up is better than the view from the base, and it steadily becomes finer as the horizon expands." William Lyon Phelps