Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Keep Moving Forward

After the failed donor egg cycle in February, my dad sent me an email in which he said, "Keep moving onward and upward in deed and in spirit." I've been thinking about that a lot lately. It brings to mind a hike I once took...

It was the summer of 1999 and I was living in Israel. One particularly hot and humid weekend and some friends decided to go camping in the Galilee and I agreed to go with them foolishly assuming they weren't going to attempt to kill me on a crazy difficult hike. So we slept on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (which is really a lake). There was a meteor shower that night that was quite stunning. Two of my friends stayed awake most of the night watching the stars and falling in love--or deepening their love, I'm not sure of the details of their relationship's timeline--and, with all the energy and euphoria that new love brings, they led us on a hike into the bowels of hell the next day.

You can ask TOIAW, any hike that begins by going downhill raises numerous red flags for me. I didn't fail physics; I know we're eventually going to have to come back uphill. Down the mountain we went and into a beautiful wadi (ravine). I've forgotten--or blocked out--many of the details but here is what I do remember:

  • There were at least two parts of the trail that could only be traversed by swimming.
  • Wasps like beef jerky and will attack you if you are eating it.
  • Much of the trail consisted of fallen rocks. They weren't huge but they weren't small either. You had to keep moving forward and not try to balance or stand on one rock or you would fall.
  • Lisa, one-half of the New Love Duo, wore these tiny little sandals that offered zero support or stability and she did the entire grueling hike as if it were a stroll on the beach.
  • I chose to wear running shoes that became treacherous once wet and I had a huge fall. I still have a scar on my left knee. TOIAW does not believe I went on this hike willingly and/or without bloodshed once I realized how difficult it was going to be. All I can say is it happened and I have witnesses.
  • The uphill portion out of the ravine was something akin to rock climbing. There were boulders the size of VW Beetles and you had to use both your hands and feet to climb out. Or at least I did.
  • We ran out of water.
  • It was days before I could once again walk normally.

But it was a lot of fun and I was with people I truly love even though I haven't seen most of them in many years. I'm not sure if it's the PTSD associated with the hike or that it was so darned fun, but I often think about that hike when I'm going through a tough time. The part that stands out the most are those long stretches when we walked across the rocks. You had to sustain a forward motion because if you stopped, you fell. There was no time to think about your next move, you just had to go with your instinct and move quickly. You had to keep moving forward.

Today it has been one month since I spoke with my dad. I think about him all the time just like I often think of Sarah. If I stop and think about all they are missing and all I am missing with them, it's overwhelming. I want to keep moving forward while carrying their memories in my heart. I don't want to fall. I know God has plans for me and I don't want to be on the ground sobbing instead of moving with Him.


Soapchick said...

Wow what a hike you endured and achieved! You are amazing.

Your dad was a very wise soul and I hope he continues to speak to you in a way, while he is holding Sarah in heaven.

N said...

What a beautiful post, and what an amazing sentiment from your dad.

AKD said...

This is so incredibly beautiful and poignant, Rachel. It's such a very true sentiment, too - don't look down.

This is an amazing story, by the way (although I know it was used to illustrate a point). You have been some amazing places!!

AKD said...

I just wanted to say again what an inspiration you are to me. :)

GladisSe皓珊gal1119 said...
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