Wednesday, September 19, 2012

For All Who Have Had To Climb

Do you remember my friend Amy?

In June I talked about her cancer diagnosis in the blog post When Faith is Big Cancer Becomes Small

Just recently Amy received the results of a blood test that reported her cancer marker numbers have fallen into a nearly normal range. The doctors said that until Amy's next scan they won't know if that means the tumors are shrinking or not, but it is a very good test result! We are rejoicing and thanking God!!

As Amy and I chatted the other day, she asked, "How do you remain thankful when you have cancer?"

We became distracted before we could discuss the question further. The timing of the question amazed me. I have been thinking the same thing as the Husband and I are dealing with the concern of lost income and looking at the probability of very tight finances for awhile. How do we remain thankful. Can we continue to be thankful if it never gets easier?

I don't think Amy asked because she's been struggling to be thankful. I think it was more a statement of wonder. You see, I've seen her thankful heart. A thankful heart for friends who have loved and supported. For her children and husband. For the good news of this blood test. For God's grace and love!

As I have pondered this question of being thankful myself, an adventure the Husband and I had a long time ago, a VERY long time ago, came to mind.

The Husband and I, a long time ago, took a trip to California. We decided to visit the Muir Woods National Park.

Old photo. Taken with film! Ah the old days.

It's a beautiful park! 

We arrived early and began to wander around, then we thought...hey why not just follow this marked trail. We didn't plan this little excursion very well. We just showed up at the park and started walking. We didn't even have the good sense to stop for a park map! Good gravy!

The trail we decided to stroll, became more of a climb. 

We climbed. And then we climbed some more. 

We began to wonder if this little hike had been such a good idea.

We climbed some more.

We began to imagine all sorts of terrible scenarios. Had we gotten lost? What if we were lost and no one ever found us? Why didn't we think to bring water? Where would this trail end? What if the trail never ended? -ahh- 

We may have freaked ourselves out a little. Me more than the Husband for sure.

We continued to climb.

The trees were beautiful, which of course is what the park is known for. They were so tall and majestic. We couldn't help but wonder at them. It made much of the trail very dark though. It was a huge relief when the sun would occasionally shine through and we could feel it's warmth. It was good to know the sun was still shining, because it began to feel like we'd been climbing all day.

Along the way the Husband and I, though concerned about where we would end up, began to also enjoy all the woods had to show us.

Terrible photo I know. But look, Banana slug! Yes, a little ewwww too.
We oohed and ahed quite a lot on that hike. Then suddenly we made it to the top of the hill.

Oh the joy of making it to the top. The top of what or where we didn't know. And we maybe felt a little worse for wear. So be it! We'd made it to the top! -Woohoo-

The trip down the hill was equally as long as the climb up. But the hardest part was done. We had made it to the top. 

On the walk down the hill we talked and laughed about how tough the climb had been. How unprepared we were for how long it would take, and how difficult it would be. We laughed though because we had made it!

We ended our hike with shaking legs and we were very thirsty. But we were grateful for all we had seen. It was an amazing day. 

That was when we finally stopped into the visitor's center and learned that the trail we followed, to enjoy a little "stroll," had been a 3 mile hike!! A mile and a half uphill and a mile and a half down. -bah!-

Life is so much like that unexpected hike. Sometimes it becomes a difficult and painful uphill climb. We don't know where we'll end up and much of the path is covered in darkness. 

Sometimes we just want to turn around and go back the way we came! But as we continue the journey, the light shines through, it brightens our path! The sun Son still shines. And oh the wonders we will see and experience along the way! Yes, there will be much for which to be thankful. For strength and courage. For beauty and wonders. For those who take the journey with us!

Oh yes, those who take the journey with us are a such a gift. They encourage. They shed tears. They comfort and they pray! They let you imagine the scary places and say you can make the climb even if.

Thank you to all who offered wonderful words of encouragement after reading my last post! Thank you for prayers and support! Thank you for taking the journey with me! For you I am very thankful!


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