What does “moving on” look like? How does it feel? I’ve asked myself that a lot in the last few years. I’ve felt stuck at a proverbial dead end for a while spiritually, emotionally, and in my relationships (especially in my marriage). It seems that everything in my life has been undergoing deterioration instead of progression. Because we have no children it seems that we say more “goodbyes” than “hellos” (which takes it’s toll), and we tend to fall into a rut of what is familiar rather than having new adventures. Because it’s just the two of us we tend to play it safe which seems logical, but inside you find yourself stagnating like water that flows into a pool with no drainage. Some movement forward is not only good it is necessary to remain healthy. We’ve not moved forward in many areas for a while. We’ve blamed it on circumstances, finances, and obligations, but really, it was cop-out for being lazy on all fronts. We had given up on life because things had gotten too difficult, and consequently life started living us instead of us living life.
Last Sunday I woke at my usual time to get ready for church. I got in the shower not with dread or of not wanting to go to church but with the overwhelming feeling that we needed to step out of our rut in a small way. We needed an adventure…an “adventure day”…that was it! It just felt right. We needed to cut loose for a day and do something we hadn’t done in a while…just the two of us. The rule-follower and people-pleaser in me bucked. “No, it’s Sunday! You must go to church!” But my true spiritual side told me that “Adventure Day” was just the way we needed to worship the creator that day. Besides, we go to church nearly every Sunday unless we’re traveling or sick. It’s not like we were making the choice never to go to church again. So, my inner legalistic Christian was thwarted and my husband was on board.
There is a small mountain range around 10-15 miles west of the City…a geographic bubble in an area of flatter Piedmont. It’s technically considered part of the Appalachian chain although you’d have to travel an hour to an hour and a half north to actually encounter the true Appalachian spine. There is a state park there that is quite popular for hiking and picnicking. Since the temperatures were going to be in the 50s that day (almost balmy compared to what the temperatures have been like this Winter) I decided it was a good day to hike up a mountain, and so we were off to Crowder’s Mountain State Park.
A lot of other folks had the same idea, and we almost didn’t get a parking space there. After a chat with the ranger at the visitor’s center we decided that King’s Pinnacle would be our destination. It was a mile-and- a-half hike each way on what was described as a “strenuous” trail, but we felt no trepidation. If it took us all day to reach our destination we were going to do it. We were determined. The trail started off gentle enough, but as we reached the base of the pinnacle the trail got decidedly steeper and rockier.
We took lots of breaks to catch our breath, but finally we reached the pinnacle and were rewarded with views like this!
We both felt more alive than we had in a while. We had accomplished something difficult. For the last half of the journey up our lungs burned, our muscles protested, and our hearts felt like they were going to beat out of our chests, but we persevered and we made it. What seemed like a small accomplishment in most people’s eyes…it’s not like we climbed Everest or anything…was a huge step forward for us. There was something liberating about it, and we felt instantly closer again. Because we grew up in a rural area in the mountains many of our dates before we were married had been hikes and exploring adventures to places we had never been to before. Sunday took us back to our dating days before the heaviness of infertility and the responsibilities of life had taken their toll.
It also felt like a new beginning in some ways. We proved to ourselves that we could accomplish something again even it was just completing a 3-mile round-trip hike…and that’s a good start. Hopefully, there will be more adventures to come…maybe even bigger ones.