Every once in awhile, I’ll remember that I have a journal and open it up, hastily scrawling out the preface, “Dear Journal — It’s been a long time. I am so sorry. Life just got so busy.” It’s more than likely that my journal has no opinion on the matter, an apolitical Switzerland in the whole affair. But blogs are a little different. People read them.
So, dear friends. It’s been a long time. I am so sorry.
I want to say my life’s been a roller coaster lately, but roller coasters are horribly cliche metaphors for life, so I’m gonna shut that thing down right now. The closer truth is that my life’s been like a bike ride. Sometimes the views are scenic and lovely, and the road unrolls in waves beneath me. Other times, I’m too attuned to the gravel in the shoulders, to the way my legs ache, to the driver in the big truck who nearly plowed me into a ditch, to thoughts of “why am I doing this.” The good thing is that I have a destination in sight. I’m not riding blindly. That destination makes all the difference, but the journey is still difficult.
Lately, I’ve had to confront a lot of emotional demons on this bike ride. I’ve been learning that forgiveness is really hard and sometimes has to be done in waves, mainly because forgetting is really hard. I’m working on being vulnerable with people instead of being a glacier, which I’ve trained myself to be adept at, let me tell you. I’ve sat in the middle of my ward at church sometimes and felt a painful aloneness that I haven’t felt since I was in high school, like I’m outside looking in to something instead of being in it. That’s been disheartening. It’s also been easier to see how I fall short — I fall short enough times that it’s quite embarrassing. I’m in the unique position of knowing exactly where I’m going and looking forward to my arrival more than anything, but being so discouraged in the middle of it, that I sometimes lose sight.
Insert climbing metaphor here:
Last week, my friends and I did some rock climbing up Logan Canyon. The wall we climbed was a good 40-50 feet high, and it had to be lead climbed — you couldn’t just walk up to the top and put the rope through the chains. You had to climb up past the bolts at the risk of falling to get the rope up there. Being the only one who kind of knew how to lead climb, the job fell on me.
Talk about losing sight in the middle of things.
With small holds and distances that had to be leaped sometimes, lead climbing that wall was terrifying. I found my body shaking and my voice whispering prayers. I was so scared of falling that I paralyzed my climb and forgot where I was going. Instead of seeing the wall for the end, I saw it for the slick limestone and narrow ledges in the middle. It wasn’t until I forced myself to move and forget about my fears that I made any progress.
I’m relearning that lesson in life, too.
The truth is that a lot of things scare me right now.
Being forgotten scares me.
Not being enough scares me.
Living a mediocre life scares me.
Being hurt and re-hurt by people I care about scares me.
Failing scares me.
I take all of that stuff out on a rock wall, on a bike, on my landscaping job. I push myself harder, I climb faster, I lift more. Trying to prove the silent point that I can get over things. I can overcome. If my body’s capable, then my mind and my heart are, too. It’s easier said than done, but I’m trying.
The good news is that I’ve got an amazing life ahead of me. I have so much confidence and faith in that fact. So right now, I’m going to try to focus on the end in sight. Those blessed chains that I can secure my rope on. Here are a few:
School starts in two months. I’ve never felt more right about going back.
I’m making a difference with my writing, which is all I’ve ever wanted.
The world is so big and I’ve got so much time to discover it.
I know my potential, and it’s exhilarating to know it.
Like riding a bicycle, life can be painful and there’s a learning curve. But like riding a bicycle, life can take you to places so beautiful, you never imagined them. Plus, it makes your spiritual/emotional legs pretty ripped.
Keep climbing and keep biking. It’s advice I’m going to give, and advice I’m going to take.