I was charged with the responsibility to get them all safely to the top. What we were seeking was there.
But the climb would be long.
The place from which we were to officially begin our mission was located at the midpoint of the mountain. The road to that point was winding and narrow and very beautiful.
Once we arrived, though, I discovered we were not alone. In fact, there were probably a hundred or so about to join the mission with my group. Many arrived after my group to join the mission as well.
My party consisted of five strong individuals. We split into two groups. The group in front began their ascent up the mountain. Ensuring that our entire party would make it safely to the top, CJ and I began our ascent shortly after them.
That’s when IT happened!
I knew the possibility of IT happening was there as soon as the mission was announced months before. But I would have time to prepare for IT.
Up until the time my party split, I was confident I was properly prepared for It. But, despite my preparations, IT crept in like a thief in the night!
My group in front of me did not seem affected by IT. Nor did CJ. In fact, CJ was smiling from ear to ear. She was happy we finally began our ascent to the top. IT appeared to only be affecting me. I somewhat understood Its attachment to only me. I had dealt with IT before. But not to this extent. I did not wish IT onto the others. The mission would be better accomplished if I were the only one IT attached itself to.
CJ and I were ill-prepared, though, for cold. The higher we ascended the mountain the colder the temperature. CJ expressed some discontent but seemed little affected. The colder than expected temperature, my concern for the safety of my group, the successful fulfillment of the mission, and the unfortunate attachment of IT to my psyche, added a great deal of difficulty and stress to my desire to see the mission through. Could I find a legitimate reason to end the ascent to the top? No! The ascent had begun. There was absolutely no turning back now.
We all expected that what we were seeking at the top would be worth the long travel. My party believed even the occasional halts in upward ascension would make the travel worth the climb to the top.
But I was the one dealing with IT and who was battling IT.
Did I have the ability to fight IT off? I had my doubts. Afterall, many things could go wrong. Equipment failure or someone falling during the ascension up the mountain were possibilities. Failure to succeed the mission, though, would have serious consequences not only for me but for my party. I had to fight on.
I thought about God throughout our journey to the top of the mountain. I certainly needed His help in my battle with IT.
God provides each of us with a wonderful tool, the human brain. Each brain is different, and each affects the body in different ways. CJ noticed my hands were shaking and she knew it was not just because I was cold. She knew I was dealing with IT.
My brain, a gift from God, had been attacked by IT. God, I believe, gave us those brains to help us negotiate through the challenges of life. What challenges our brains negotiate through are different for each of us. That, most likely, explains my personal battle with IT and why CJ was not in the same battle.
Even though IT kept creeping in, especially with the occasional halt in upward progress, from somewhere in the back crevices of my brain, I was confident we would reach the top. God would not let me be unsuccessful. I was assured if I just kept up my fight with IT, that all would be OK.
Finally, the first of my party reached the top. A very short time later, with my hands still shaking, CJ and I safely reached the top of the mountain.
We dismounted our chair on the Gatlinburg Skylift in Gatlinburg, TN. My wife took my hand, and we headed toward what we were seeking, the gift shops....
We took pictures at the rim of the mountain top while looking down at the beautiful city 1,800 feet below us. My party had found what they seeking. I had faced IT and survived.
The mission was a success!!