Never in my wildest dream did I ever fancy climbing a peak of a mountain!
Seven girls armed with three flashlights, seven small bottles of water, one pair of sandwich and two bananas each wearing only a pair of snickers and some flipflops. Yes, we’re more than ready to climb Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka’s 4th highest mountain with the height of almost 2,500 meters high built with 4,800 steps and approximately 18-kilometer hike! I can almost imagine (again) the smirk on the face of our tour guide as he asked us for the second time if we were indeed sure of what we were about to do.
“Yes! We’re going!”
We set out at two in the morning clueless of the height and breadth of the mountain we were about to climb. And yet, there ain’t no one who can stop us.
We’re still doing this!
We were determined to reach the peak of the mountain in time for the sunrise. We may not be ready, well, gear-wise, but our minds were all united as one solid gang ready to face the unknown! Yes, that’s how positive we were, in fact we were even planning that after the climb, we would end our perfect adventure with a quick white water rafting and some shopping before heading to the airport.
Perfect plan! And we’re very much excited!
As we started to move along and the road became more rough and the steps got more and more steep, the reality started to bite us right smack in our face. Suddenly, no one was excited anymore. It was replaced by moaning and begging to stop for some short rest. Nevertheless, we still moved forward. As it got colder, the breeze couldn’t stop our sweat from getting us wet. Our hearts beat faster and faster as we catch our breath to climb what we didn’t realize was a steep mountain. We all thought it was going to be easy. We were all wrong and it was too late to turn back now. We managed to carry on but our mind was battling so hard with thoughts left and right. One wanting to quit and the other persuading us not to give up.
It was difficult NOT to give up. Our legs were shaking and the feel of our weight was pulling us down. On the other hand, it was more difficult to accept the failure if we decide to give up in the middle of the journey. There was no more turning back. Surrender was no longer an option. We have to reach the peak even if we have to pull one another up.
As we reached almost the three-fourths of the mountain, the cold winds started to blow even harder, the steps got even narrower and the fog got thicker. We were all scared. The sounds of the nocturnal animals and the darkness that surrounded us made it even worse.
Then suddenly, it was dawn and we were a few minutes away from the peak. Finally, we were filled with hope once again. Our hearts pumping faster while our legs and feet almost ready to give up, except our mind, our will and our spirit.
A few more steps and we’re almost there! Two more steps, one more… and you made it!
I can almost hear the sound of the angels in heaven clapping their hands in unison cheering over our victory. That feeling, yes, that was heaven! I didn’t want that moment to last. I want to savor every second of it. That was no contest or competition but I felt as if I have won the olympics. I more than anything have conquered my fear and my fleshly desire to give up and I still couldn’t believe it!
Every time I look at this mountain, it reminds me of that victory and the lessons I have learned about life.
At times God will not reveal to us the path we are to take, but His mercies are new every morning and He gives enough grace to get us through the day.
God has already prepared the path that we are going to take and our destiny were already set and finished. But how we are to reach our destination, that is where we need Him the most in order that He could guide us, direct our steps and give us strength to carry on. Each day is a reminder of his mercies and his grace is enough to get us going.
There are blessings in darkness.
Had we decided to climb when the sun was already up and we can all see how far and how high the steps that we were about to take, we would have easily given up and not moved forward. It is always easier to give up if we knew that there will be challenges along the way. In turn, the darkness had kept us clueless of the height and breadth of the journey and this has hidden the difficulty that we were about to face. Because this has blinded our sight, we have learned to move by faith. I understood very clearly, why God has always asked his people to ‘live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7)‘. It’s true how powerful our faith can get. It had given us the strength to carry on and finish what we have started.
It is the journey not the destination.
We always hear people say this but there is so much truth to it. Had I reached the peak via a helicopter, it probably wouldn’t give me so much impact. It would just be another destination we reached like going from one place to another. The excitement, the difficulty and all the challenges we overcame along the way had made the journey even sweeter. So much like our lives that it gave us the will to keep moving on because soon trials will come to pass and soon victory awaits.
The journey becomes easier when you are surrounded with people of the same faith.
I couldn’t have imagined myself reaching the peak nor even climbing that mountain all by myself. I know we were not ‘physically’ prepared to go on that adventure, but we managed to finish it nonetheless because we were all one in spirit. We all have the same goals and faith and this had held us together all throughout the journey. A cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecc. 4:12). Two are better than one (Ecc. 9:9), but seven… even more exciting!
Now I understood, why a lot of people go there for pilgrimage. For some, it could be a religious sacrament that they have to fulfill or another adventure in their bucket list. But for me, it was actually more than that. It become very spiritual for me. It made me look at my life differently and made me see my future in a more positive way. At the same time, this adventure became a reminder for me that no matter how hard trials may come into my life or how difficult the journey I am already in, remember NOT to give up, keep moving until you can actually see and taste the ‘heaven’ here on earth.