Monday, October 18, 2010

Mountain Climbing

Generally when we learn, there is a somewhat typical pattern (called a Learning Curve) that measures the mastery of particular skills over time. For the average person, the curve grows in an upward direction and at some point will level off.

I have discovered that my own learning curve is FAR from typical. Just when I think I’ve learned and mastered that skill or concept that took so very long…something comes along and causes my curve to run steeply and quickly downward.  As a matter of fact, my learning curve looks a lot like the Rocky Mountains…up, up, up I go…lots of stumbling and slipping along the way and then something or someone comes along and there I go tumbling back down to the very bottom.

Learning to trust is one of those really big mountain ranges for me. I slowly and carefully begin the climb, making sure that all of my gear is properly in place. I look up, and there’s my person – the one I’m trusting – up at the top holding out their hand ready to help pull me up as I get ever closer to the peak.

But then a funny thing happens – except that it’s really not so funny. That person that I am trusting to be there for me at the top with a helping hand and maybe a “job well done” disappears. Or worse yet, they cut my rope and watch me tumble back down the mountain.

At that point my “curve” stays more like the flatline on a heart monitor when death calls. I’ve become weary of the climb, so I move more slowly, more cautious, like a scared wild cat. Sometimes it stays that way for a while. A really, really long while.

Eventually I begin to climb again. I try again…and again…and again…using my own power, not relying on anyone to help, not trusting that anyone will be waiting for me at the top – climbing up and over people. My focus is singular. I don’t stop or slow down for anything…or anyone. It’s just easier that way. Or is it?

With self-trust and self-reliance, it gets lonely at the top of that mountain, where the air is thin and it’s hard to breathe. Where there’s no one to help you know where to go. Where all you hear is the echo of your own voice….

I find myself in this place often, and it’s in this time that I have learned I have to come back down the mountain some…come to a place where I am not looking down upon things past, nor toward things to come. I must put one foot in front of the other and dig my feet in one slow, precise step at a time, until I reach that place where breath flows freely.

Then I look up…

"I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber"
Psalm 121:1-3


Leanne said...

This is so well written, Doris. Really profound and made me look at my own learning (and life) process.

I find that I am happier when I stop looking at the past or the future, and focus on the place I am in today. Today is much better for me when lived that way.

Really . . . a fantastic post, my friend.

Kelly Marie said...

Love it, Doris. You are such an amazing writer, and your messages are always so sincere that it really touches my heart. I think that this is true, but my experience also adds a little to that.

I've also learned that God does place people in our lives for that help. I try to look at them as strategically placed tools that God gives us during our ups and downs. Being humans, they will eventually let you down - some a little, some a lot. But when one lets you down, God will send in others to replace them. However, the key is to see those fallible people as God-sent aides and support along the way, but NOT the source of your strength. STRENGTH is what comes from the Lord. That way, if/when they let you down, you don't fall off a cliff. You just say, "God, I really appreciated the support that you sent me through so-and-so. Being human, they have fallen short, amd it really hurts not having them here now. I really miss the support and connection that You gave me through them, so please send me that again through whatever or whoever you know is best. YOU are my support, Lord. You!"

So, I guess what I am saying is, don't trust in a person, but trust in God and whatever He is giving you through that person. Love you!!

Laura said...

Wow - what a terrific post!

Doris said...

@Leanne, Kelly, and Laura - thank you my lovelies. This life is such a struggle. It's hard enough to deal with today - and we so often get tangled up in the "should have" of yesterday and the "whate if" of tomorrow. We forget to enjoy the gift of today. I am glad you are a part of my today. Thank you.

Simplegirl said...

Beautifully written Doris:-)

Doris said...

Thank you! Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you stopped reminded me that I wanted to get over to your site for a little holiday browsing. :-)

The Blonde Duck said...

Popped in from SITS. What a poignant post!

Doris said...

Hello there Ms. Duckie! So glad you stopped by! I popped over to your blog as well, and I think I gained 10 pounds just looking at those pumpkin blondies...yuuummm-O!

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