“You will grow from this.”
I absolutly hate that sentence. It has been said to me so much through my life, that I can almost tell you when it is getting ready to be said to me in conversation.
Why should I have to grow? Why can’t life just go as I want it to go, and follow my schedule? Is that really too much to ask? Seriously, it seems that once I finally adjust to something, it changes, leaving me frustrated, confused, and flopping around like a fish out of water.
How wonderful my world would be if there was never any growth or change.
But in reality that is such a Superficial way of thinking. Nothing about it is realistic or fathomable. Without change….we simply cannot grow or thrive.
Yesterday, after 42 years on this earth, I finally made the connection about learning to allow change and growth happen.
Last year one of my favorite trails in the Great Smoky Mountains was ravaged by a violent and unrelenting wildfire. The damage was immense and word at the beginning was that the Chimney Tops may never open again in my lifetime. The fire was just too intense and the destruction was devastating.
However, with a little help from the National Park Service and a whole lot of love from Mother Nature herself, the Chimney Tops trail opened up this past week, not even one year since it had been engulfed in flames. Of course the high point of the hike, the Pinnacle, or the Chimney Tops as they are known, are still closed off. The heat from the fires was so intense the rock face and soil are just unstable and may take a century to heal. But the Park Service created a gorgeous overlook just a short distance from the summit, where you can sit and look at the beautiful rock face, that may never again know the touch of human feet.
As I started my hike, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to see, but it wasn’t what I saw. I had hiked in other areas affected by the wildfires, but this was supposed to be the worst. I guess I was expecting to see evidence of destruction and carnage. But what I saw was the exact opposite.
As I climbed higher and higher up the steep and rocky mountain side I was utterly amazed at how the forest had come back even more beautiful then it was before the fires. Everything was absolutly perfect. All of it.
Leaves displayed magnificent colors, the last of the wildflowers stood tall and proud, the birds sang merrily, and the evergreens were intoxicating with their fresh smell.
Perfection at it greatest.
As I reached the top, I was not sure what I would feel once I saw the Pinnacle for the first time so close up.
But, what I saw brought a catch to my breathing. Many were already there, staring in solemn and reverent silence, waiting for the fog to move so that they could catch a glimpse of what was once a crown jewel of the Smoky Mountains.
The weather was foggy and and it was almost an eerie sight shrouded in the clouds, wind, and grayness. And then, it happened. The clouds moved and we caught a glimpse of the pinnacle. “There it is!” someone shouted. She was broken, bruised, but oh still so absolutely beautiful.
As I started my decent down the mountain, I thought about that sentence I hate so much. How I hate having to change. How I hate pain and growth. Then I got to thinking how I need to be a little more like nature.
This mountain took the worst kind of beating. Instead of laying down in defeat and staying the same, it adapted. It changed. It grew. It became something more beautiful.
Aristotle said it best when he said, “In all things of nature there’s something of the marvelous.”
Nature takes a beating, and comes back more glorious and successful. How much more inspiring my life would be, if I lived by the same philosophy. Pain, change, and sometimes disaster is necessary to help us grow and become even stronger then we are now. I may think I am down for the count, but if I will adjust and adapt, and allow the pain to teach me, oh how much more beautiful I truly become.
Don’t lose heart if you are going through a season of painful change. You may be charred and battered right now, but hold tight, something marvelous is right around the bend. Just wait for it…. it’s coming.