Hitting the wall? You’ll know it when you see it. Your legs feel like lead. You reach what surely is the end of your resources. Elation, from the start gives place to despair and disappointment. Ready to give up and ‘throw in the towel’ you bargain with yourself. “Is it really worth it?” “What’s the real reason I’m doing this?” “If I give up, who cares?” “What’s the point!” Carbohydrates are the sportsman’s primary fuel resource, apparently. The term ‘hitting the wall’ is “a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy,” according to Wiki. This is a war zone. Literally! Body and soul at war … “I will finish this race,” you say. Bargaining and consoling, the battle wages internally as the race is on to the finish. Familiar?
If you climb a mountain, as was the case during my recent trip to Wales with close friends, you will no doubt have a vision – that’s to finish, right? Well of course! (Why wouldn’t you?) What is not anticipated at the outset are the challenges that beset such a climber. Hey, most of these expeditions are a ‘one-day-game,’ as George, my late hubby would say:) – unless of course you’re about to climb three peaks over a couple of days (not this time, thankfully!) Looking back, ‘my George’ made it up this mountain, by train, his injuries and the arthritis necessitated a more direct route. Encapsulated memories of past adventures on this mount, our group of three felt it well worth revisiting. This 3,560 foot mountain: Snowdon leaves its own legacy.
On this brilliant and bright day the first hundred metres a precipice, calling for rest before the real climb! There was a point about half way where we did ‘hit the wall’. People were ascending and descending this mount. Sheep oblivious to the torment safely grazed within earshot, bleating and greeting lambs, going about their day ravenously satisfying appetites. Kites and other birds soaring above, effortlessly (unlike us!). So onward and upward … It was at a point, near the summit, I began to notice a change in our fellow climbers. Those descending were light-hearted, encouraging others on, willing them to succeed. “You’ll make it, not long to go.” “It’s really just past that bend, then along that path ahead …” Each fellow ‘descender’ seemed to be willing each fellow ‘ascender’ on – a real sense of warmth between strangers. Clouds were closing in as a blanket obscuring our view. Icy air meant time to haul out an anorak we didn’t think we’d need at the start. Eventually a bend, another sharp rock, ascent, descent, one step at a time, some more steps and the final end was in sight. Yay! Suffice to say, we reached the summit, with great relief and elation!
Soon a cuppa-tea, pastry & chocolate quickly served to replenish our depleted resources. Jovial, it was clear, already all was forgotten and forgiven. No pain. No tears. No more struggle. The descent only was to follow…
Comparing this experience (as widows/widowers do) to our individual journey and grief struggle, I make some observations which I share with you now :
- The climb is treacherous – rocks, twists and turns mar the way
- We need help!
- Comparing our life journey and grief to others may/may not be helpful
- Distractions can hinder our progress
- We’re all different – young, old, short, tall, able, less able
- Our momentary struggles cannot be compared to the joy of completing the race
- Press on & don’t give up!
We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey. – Kenji Miyazawa
Romans Chapter 8 and verse 18 reveals a glimpse of heaven to us, keeping things in perspective: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Question: What’s your (my) wall? Till next time, dear reader – Persevere!
(Acknowledgement: main image hitting-the-wall.png)