It wasn't pretty.
In fact, it was downright ugly.
I got a small glimpse of the view from the top about halfway up.
Every cell in my body and every fiber of my BEING was screaming "CLOSE ENOUGH! You fought a good fight. But here is where we bow out."
I wouldn't have been ashamed to tuck tail, turn around and gladly make my descent.
At least I gave it a good effort.
As people ran----no. GLIDED past me-effortlessly, LEAPING over rocks and rough terrain I felt my inhibitions and inability grow GREATER by the second.
No. I came to climb this mountain and that is what I will do. I came for the view.
I turned the corner and there it was. The plateau of the mountain with a view for miles.
......and.....then as I mopped myself dry I gasped for breath, completely battleworn and exhausted, eyeing those who came up behind me smiling with makeup in tact and an air of perfume in the air!??! The perfume was CERTAINLY not coming from my direction! (HOW they managed to get up here without breaking a sweat is beyond me.) But for ME? I made it.
I did what I came here to do.
For you more experienced exercise enthusiasts this was NOT an easy climb for me. It was HARD. Stress and grief is unkind to a body and my body took a hard hit. This used to be a fairly easy climb for me but today I earned the right to see that view.
As I stood there looking over the silhouette of Atlanta I remember the day I finished a hard and difficult climb.
The day my husband passed away.
The day that I made it to the top and it crumbled beneath my feet all in the same day.
There were days, seasons, years where our life together was a DIFFICULT climb.
Messy. Sometimes downright UGLY. Days when I wanted to quit and everything in me was screaming, ""CLOSE ENOUGH! You fought a good fight. But here is where we bow out."
The hard seasons. The days that ended with both of us in tears with no answers.
But I was in it to finish it.
Quitting was not an option.
I can't say I finished well. I can't say I didn't make mistakes.
I can't say that I loved him well everyday of our marriage. But when the rubber hit the road, when things got hard, we didn't quit.
Things we were believing for. Things we had prayed for. Things we had fought for....started coming to pass.
Our final year was our very best year.
I would have never known the thrill of the view had I quit halfway up the mountain. But there I stood. On the top of the mountain we had climbed together.
Hand in hand.
That's where TRUE LOVE happens.
In the staying.
When things get hard to keep climbing- TOGETHER.
As it crumbled all around me and I looked around at all the pieces asking God, "What now?"
GRACE held my hand and one step at a time- SLOWLY- we started climbing again.
That's the thing about grief. It takes its time.
It's not in a hurry. These last 3 years I have been COMPLETELY, THOROUGHLY and TOTALLY undone. I've been challenged. I've grown. I've confronted some HARD things. Found my footing and started climbing again.
I've gained perspective. and MOSTLY? I've felt the nearness of my Savior more than I ever have before.
As I make my way back down the mountain (that's the EASY part.) I hear the lyrics play from my headphones, "By your Spirit I will RISE from the ASHES of defeat."
One. Step. At. A. Time.