This weekend while hiking, my muscles began to ache. The sweat started beading on my brow and I could hear my heart beating through my inner ear like a drummer drumming a battle march. There was more than one time whe, I looked at the trail ahead or the ledge I had to climb and thought, how much do I want to do this.
I told myself, it was a test of my resolve.
There have been other tests.
When I was diagnosed with Cancer, I remember thinking about Chemotherapy. The thought of the administration of deadly poisons into my body was more than daunting, it was terrifying. I remember how very sick my Mother had become when she went through Chemotherapy. I thought about how she lost all of her perfectly coiffed hair, and how she worried about her looks. I thought about the pain I remembered her suffering. And then, I remembered her resolve.
And in that I found some of my own resolve. If Mom could get through what she endured to try and survive, how could I not boldly charge ahead to fight the battle I knew I could win. I thought about my two young daughters and how much I would miss if I simply let the Cancer win. I thought about what their weddings would look like without me there. I thought of their father standing alone at their graduations. I thought of grandchildren who would never know me, and I grew more and more determined not to let vanity or illness get in my way.
Each day we are faced with challenges that we simply would rather skip on by. I have clients who have to sell the home where all their happiness once lived. To let the house go is painful and heartbreaking. But to stay, at the sacrifice of all else is really not honoring those memories. It is letting the memories hold you captive. If we think about those people who we celebrated life with, the last thing they would ever want is to see you frozen and unable to move forward.
The past is there for perceptive, not to replace the present or the future. The past can help, as it has for me, build resolve for the difficult road ahead.
Now when I am on a hike and I see a particularly high hill to climb, I think about why I am walking. I am walking so that one day my children and my children's children can live in a world without Cancer. I am walking so not one else will ever be forced to imagine a world where they will not feel the touch of their grandchild's soft hand, or hear their silly giggles. I am walking so there may never be a world where people have to struggle to remember the sound of your voice or the color of your eyes. I am walking to spend my old age in the arms of the husband, while strolling along the coast of the mighty Pacific. My resolve is deepened when I think of my friends and the journeys they will be able to continue as with each step I get closer to a world without Cancer.
With reasons like that, the hills melt into a plateau...and the next thing you know you are past the summit to the meadow beyond. You have finally come to a place where the birds sing sweetly as you lay in soft green grass, smelling the breeze from the sea under a baby blue sky.
A world without Cancer. And that is why I walk.