The area I live in is a bit hilly. It’s good for training. Builds character, I say.
But it’s painful. Just the sight of looking upward toward the seemingly endless sidewalk brings feelings of Damn… to my heart.
One thing that helps me keep going is knowing that, at the end of this formidable incline, is a glorious life-giving decline.
It’s just how it goes. And I know when I get to that point, I’ll be racing down the decline, letting gravity carry me, laughing gleefully at the ease of running, and quickly forgetting the pain and hardship leading to that point.
A couple days ago, as I was running up an incline, I realized a very simple thing.
A step is a step.
Regardless of whether on an incline or a decline – a step is a step in the workout, the journey, the road.
Each time I choose to keep moving my foot forward in a run, or even a walk, which I hate to do, I’m choosing to participate in the journey. The difficulty of that portion is real, the pain is real, the sense of Can I make it? and I don’t know if I can do this… are all real. Every aspect – mental, emotional, psychological – is real.
The experience is, initially, not as pleasant as the experience of the decline. But it’s part of the whole.
And I realized, at the hardest points of the run, the parts where I just want to release myself from the agony and torment, there is absolutely no reason to stop. The pain and suffering, the mental stress are not reasons for stopping. Because each step is a step. And each step matters.
This applies to all of life. When things get hard, when things don’t make sense, when the pain is too much, when the struggle seems endless, they’re not reasons to stop, to give up. They are part of the journey and they belong there.
Those who choose declines only will find there is no release, no triumph, no understanding of freedom and glory. I’m not saying we should go out and intentionally make our lives hell. But there’s a cycle in life, a certain way it goes sometimes and it doesn’t always look pretty, it doesn’t always make sense, it’s not always easy going.
But it is always worth it. Actually, who knows, maybe it won’t be. There’s always a possibility that you reach what you thought was the top and realize… there’s more incline. Or there was really nothing on the other side.
But the human spirit is made to wonder, to achieve, to dream, to hope, to persevere. It’s why we keep going when nothing makes sense. It’s the act of taking each step, no matter the pain, no matter the difficulty, that satisfies our human nature and completes our being.
Whatever happens at the end, whether triumph or more incline, is the universe / God’s responsibility. Ours is the step we’re taking right now. Ours is the determination to take the next step. Ours is to believe. Ours is to heed our hearts and souls. Ours is to obey our nature to pursue greater, higher, the more.
So, wherever you are, whatever you’re going through, know that the step you take today resonates into eternity and nothing is taken for granted. If you’re on that incline, keep going. Be smart and soulful about it, but keep going. If you’re on the decline and chilling, I hope you’re enjoying every moment of it, remembering the incline that brought you to today.
As for me, I’ll keep climbing.