Welcome to my Never Quit Climbing blog

A practical, inspirational blog designed to encourage and give hope to people who are climbing mountains of rock and granite or ones life has put in their way.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

One Step At A Time

I’ll never forget my first 14’er climb (Long’s Peak in Colorado). And my wife and I will always remember starting our trek through her cancer. I mention them both because there were a number of similarities to both journeys.  One however stands out.

On Long’s it seemed like there was always one more section of that eight mile ascent to conquer.  Get above treeline, scramble through Boulder Field,  climb the Trough, stay alive through the Ledges, and then endure the Home Stretch to the top. To some of you experienced mountain people that shouldn’t be a big deal. To me it seemed like Everest.

However, when Jackie was first diagnosed with cancer, we thought we were facing another 8000 meter peak with seemingly endless obstacles to overcome.  We began to picture myriad tests, doctor visits, surgeries, radiation and hospitalizations.  And we were right.  She would endure all of the above and more.

But we soon learned one very important and vitally energizing reality. Climbing is a step-by-step, pitch-by-pitch, event-by event process. You don’t climb well if you’re focused on both the summit and the pain required to get there. You climb best when you only concentrate on the next section you need to conquer.

On Long’s my son and I continually gave ourselves short-term goals:  a rock up ahead, the next switchback or the top of a snow field. As much as possible we enjoyed the challenge of that section of the mountain and celebrated when we got to our next checkpoint.

Through Jackie’s cancer we began to say similar things.  “Let’s just focus on this next appointment, “ or test or surgery or chemo treatment.  You see going one step at a time saved us the extra energy that worry about the whole journey would utilize.  We faced one of the biggest ascents in our lives through bite-sized chunks. God could handle more but we could not.

No, our perspective didn’t reduce the size of the mountain.  It simply removed our penchant to become overwhelmed because we weren’t dreading the whole climb at once!

So what’s your mountain?  Cancer, relationship issues, facing your grief, getting a job again?  Try going one step at a time.  Let go of all the horrible possibilities you can think of down the road and just concentrate on the next event, responsibility or task. I know you’ll find that your inner strength, encouragement and hope will increase along the way. Never quit climbing!

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