We’ve all set goals. Starting out at the base of the mountain, we climb step by step, working hard to get to the top. The steeper the climb, the more joyful the celebration at the summit. I’ve had many mountaintop moments in my life, but two of them stick out in my memory.
When I was in high school, my sister and I went on our first retreat experience. It was called “Teens Encounter Christ”, or TEC. I remember being really excited about spending time with other girls my age who wanted to deepen their faith. We’d be gone for three days and two nights, so it was quite a commitment.
Every effort I made was met with joy. I joined a small group to attend talks, have discussion time, eat and pray together too. One of my small group leaders was named Marita, and I told her I was going to name one of my children after her.
After three days, it was time to pack up and head home. I definitely didn’t want to go back to my regular life. I’d experienced so much friendship, faith and fun that I was surely on the highest spiritual high of my young life.
Please don’t make me leave.
I attended a small, all-women college in Minnesota, where I studied nursing. The town was small, but so pretty. It was close to the Mississippi River, with bluffs rising up from the ground, standing like soldiers around the town. The fall season splashed the leaves with every color, and in the winter, we could rent cross country skis and slide around the silent white campus.
I did join the swim team, although it was a small one, making it to the state finals sophomore year. I was also involved in choir, school government and a TON of studying.
In May of senior year, my parents made the six hour trek to see me graduate. It was such an emotional experience. I was excited and relieved beyond belief to have made it to that day. But I was also incredibly sad to say goodbye to the great friends I had made, and the beautiful city and campus.
Please don’t make me go.
In both of these situations, I asked myself, “Why can’t I stay right here forever?”
Well. Because there’s so much more waiting for me.
All I could see was the joy in being where I was. But if I had stayed eternally frozen at the TEC retreat, I wouldn’t have graduated from college. If I hadn’t graduated, I wouldn’t have had the joy of a career in nursing.
Emotional and spiritual highs are wonderful, such a sweet part of life. But they aren’t places to stop and break out the camping gear. They’re springboards to the next adventure. Take it from me, savor those lofty peaks, but don’t forget they’re just one wondrous step on the journey.
So don’t stand admiring the view for too long…the next summit is waiting.
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