How often have I said “I can’t…”? Probably way more than even I think! This weekend we had a lot of time with “I can’t” when we took our grandsons hiking in the Sierras.
Our oldest grandson is a kid with boundless energy. His younger brother is a bit more laid back. These character traits expressed themselves as soon as I called to invite them. One was all in, the other…not so much.
The morning of the hike was not too bad. We had a great car trip up to the mountains. We stopped at a store and got a bit of lunch to take on the hike. Smiles and laughter was plentiful. Then we headed up into the mountains and still, all was good with the world.
It wasn’t until about one tenth of a mile into our hike that things turned sour for the younger guy. Yeah, one tenth of a mile into a four mile round trip. Oh boy, this was gonna be great!
As always, there were a lot of option on the table. I could let him quit and just sit in the car, but that was not really a good choice. Several hours alone in a parking lot in the mountains would be worse than the hike. He didn’t know that, but we all did. Next option was to just push forward and let him catch up. Again, leaving a kid in the woods seems to be a bit of bad judgement. I decided to let Grammy and the oldest boy go on ahead while I stayed back with my daughter and him.
It was slow going. He absolutely did not think he could do it. Every 100 feet along the trail he was ready to quit. He tried reasoning with us that he would be fine all alone and we could get him on the way down. He tried pleading with us to just turn around and be done. He got mad and said mean things. He cried and looked for pity. Basically, it was like dealing with a person in recovery! Funny how that works, right?!?
So my daughter and I played the role of good sponsors and helped him see how he was going to make it. We set short term goals and met them. Then we started setting longer goals. We stopped and looked at how far we had come. And we didn’t let him give in to the temptation to quit.
Eventually (3 hours later!) we made it to the lake where we were going to eat. He did it. He knew that he had done something difficult and that he had overcome his desire to quit. He was proud of it too.
Then, just like recovery, we had to keep stepping. The trip down was just as much “fun”.
No one said it was going to be easy in this life. In fact, it’s pretty common to hear the opposite. Just remember that you can do it, with the help of your people and God. Don’t quit before you…