i'm following...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

(for this post, you need to see pictures.  and i forgot my camera.  and so, i would like to send you here to see pictures taken at another time and with other people, but of pretty much the same location.  becky, i hope this is okay!)

tony knows me better than most.

actually, he probably knows me better than anyone.

in the safety of his huge love for me, i can let my hair down.  he has seen me at my best, at my worst, at my semi-worst...you get the picture, and he still sees the best in me.  there are times that i am amazed by that fact.  to be loved like this is something that i still can't comprehend at times.

the other night after an extremely emotional day, he mentioned taking a big hike.  i thought he was joking.

and then i curled up on the chair i've claimed as my own and started blog hopping.

and then my sweet second mama said, "oh!  i thought you were going on a big hike!"

to which i laughed and thought she was joking and told her that there was no point seeing as i wasn't losing any weight and i had just had a snickers sundae to add another pound to keep the other pounds company...and turned back to my reading.

suddenly, tony was in front of me in his hiking gear.

"come on!" he said all enthusiastically.


"yes!  get ready!!"

i threw on the appropriate clothing as fast i as could and in less than 6 minutes, we were out the door.

have i mentioned i'm a prairie girl? as in "wide open spaces" and all of that?  the horizon is stamped on my spirit and if i go a few days without seeing it, i begin to feel closed in.  and here, i'm closed in by mountains.  beautiful mountains, mind you. but beautiful mountains that surround me. on. all. sides.

these mountains are also the mountains that tony's dad conquered.  from what i understand, he climbed all of the them that surround the valley.

and so, tony and i headed out to climb half of one of them.

from the ground, they look like sweet, easy, kind mountains.  like your typical child's drawing; practically perfect triangles.

i looked at tony and stated confindently, "i can climb the whole thing." (or something just as foolish)

"let's just see how far we can get."

we made it to the point he had pointed out to, my husband, having grown up in these mountains and having grown deep into my heart, knew the limitations of both.  but.  i learned a couple of things on this hike.

one, tony's feet were sure, the gravel and rocks on the hiking trail...not so much.  if i kept my eyes on tony's feet, i knew exactly where to step.  he knew which rocks were embedded deep into the ground and as we ascended higher it was easier to slip and lose my balance.  as long as i followed his footprints, the looser rock was easy to avoid.  trusting tony was critical.

two.  as long as i kept my eyes on tony's feet, i didn't become overwhelmed.  he would stop at the switchbacks and let me catch my breath and i would look down at how far we had climbed and feel like i had accomplished a huge portion on the mountain.  and then, i would look up.  that "peak" never got closer. no matter how far we climbed, it still seemed as unattainable as it did at the bottom.  so, after a while i chose to keep my eyes on his feet.  turns out that by the time we began to head down, we were only a third of the way up, and the "peak" i was refusing to look at was only a fake "peak", the actual peak was hidden...

third, at some point, you will see a horizon. tony took me to the point that when i finally stopped and turned and looked to the...south?  i don't remember, but if i got high enough and looked past the climb ahead and refused to look down on how much i had climbed and looked out, i would see a set of mountains in the distance that, while still mountains, were straight across.  and to my horizon loving heart, that was good enough for me.  i drank it in.

that hike did more for me than give me some fresh air.  it did more for me than the sore muscles i'm still dealing with this morning.  it did more for my spirit than the health of my bones.  it reminded me of where my eyes need to be.  on the One who loves me, even more than tony does (and that's huge!) as He navigates the road ahead.

He also reminded me of one more thing.  being surrounded by the mountains that tony's dad loved so dearly has opened up a lot of the grieving that i thought i had already gone through.  driving home from the grocery store when i'm alone opens up a well of sadness that spills over as i sit at the stop light facing the pure beauty he loved.

i miss him.

as i watched my husband's feet settle in the footprints left by others before him, i realized that somewhere in all those layers of footprints were the footprints of his dad.  and suddenly, for a moment, i felt him close.

and a part of my heart found healing.