“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
I have stared at the above quote for the past 5 days. Eleanor Roosevelt was wise, strong, and incredibly bold. Inspiration was birthed out of every word she spoke back in her day. She was fiercely independent and lived out the advice she gave. Whenever I hear or read one of her quotes, I am instantly inspired to leap into action.
But this one… this one has special meaning.
This coming Sunday I will put myself to the Test when I take the final steps to accomplish my quest to finish what I started back in February. It seems almost surreal to me that the time as come to place the final check on the list. It is also fitting that I am embarking on this journey to finish my final trail up to Mt. LeConte the same way I began it…..
When I made my first trip up in March, I was completely terrified. Not only was the hiking hard, but it was my first time being totally alone. As an extrovert, being alone is never ideal. In fact…it sucks. But one of the things I have learned to relish over the past few months is the time I have alone in the woods. It is so exhilarating, and leaves me with a greater sense of myself.
Ever since I made my list back in February, I have been anxiously awaiting the day I could make my final check. And now it is here.
And I am terrified.
Don’t get me wrong… I am extremely proud and super excited that I am going to finish what I started, but what next? Will I continue with the passion now that I am almost finished? Will the fire in me slowly dwindle down to a mere ember now that I have done what I wanted?
I am NOT the same person I was 6 months ago, when I laced up my brand new pretty boots and started what I thought would be the longest journey of my existence.
I have grown in strength, courage, and confidence, and like my boots, I have developed into a whole new dimension of my former self.
So what now?
When I come off the mountain on Sunday where do I go?
This is when the real Test begins.
Have I really changed? Will I look at my finished list and say, “Well, I did it, so that’s that”, and return to the person I was before? I hope not. As great of a gal as she was, I don’t much like her anymore.
So there you have it. When this phase of the journey ends on Sunday a whole new journey begins….the journey to continue.
It’s funny how I thought finishing my goals for the year would bring me closure and sense of accomplishment. And in a way, they have. But I also know there is still so much more for me to do. So much left unfinished. My story in not yet complete.
The real journey begins after this chapter is complete. Will I continue to grow, or will I revert back to my old ways? Will I take the knowledge and skills gained over the past 6 months and build on them, or will I allow them to break down into ruble?
Six months ago I think I could honestly say I would come out of this unchanged and un-phased. Now… I am not so sure. Now that I have had a taste of adventure and accomplishment… I crave more.
And so it is…. Sunday marks not the end, but the birth of something new. When I reach the top on Sunday, I plan to sit and glance out into the mountains that surround me… and I intend to write a new promise. Looking my fears in the face, I will make another vow to God to keep on my journey, trusting Him alone to guide me and strengthen me.
The day will be bittersweet indeed. Putting one chapter to rest, and embarking on a new, fresh and full of promise filled journey. Keeping myself ever mindful of this promise…
“In the day when I cried out, you answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalms 138:3
Fearful as I am I know I must go do the thing I NEVER thought I could do…..