Of Grace and Growth – Adventuring for the View
The other day my 5-year-old informed me that our family needs to go mountain climbing next summer. He had it all figured out – I could carry his (currently in utero) youngest brother in a baby backpack and he would bring the rope. He scornfully dismissed my alternative suggestion of a nice hike, clearly confident that trekking up a snow-and-ice encrusted mountain with his parents and younger brothers in tow would be a delightful adventure, presenting no particular difficulties. After all, he was bringing a rope.
I think when we hear the word “Adventure” we often conjure up similar visions of delight; something grandiose and exhilarating, with plenty of thrills and customer satisfaction guaranteed, thank you very much. Some challenge and risk is acceptable in order to lend spice to the experience, but nothing so difficult as to beactually unpleasant – certainly nothing boring. Then when wefind ourselves in disagreeable and monotonous situations, weworry we’ve missed out on adventure. When we are knee-deep in laundry and making dinner again and struggling to maintain patience while the 3-year-old throws down a full-blown tantrumat 2:00 am, it’s tempting to conclude that Adventure is not ourportion.
Look, I hate to crush childhood dreams and I would love to climb a mountain, but I am not going on any trip that requires strapping a 1-year-old and an icepick to my back. So, trying to convince my eldest that this was a conversation we should have in 20 years, I showed him a YouTube video about climbing Denali, the highest point in North America. The mountaineerstalked about the realities of getting to the peak. 12-hour days climbing – one foot in front of the other, breathing in time with the steps, through the snow, for 12 hours. A “rest day” meantspending the day building an ice wall to protect the tents at night. Everyone was mind-numbingly cold and carrying heavy packs and exhausted. But they do it for the view. It is breathtakingly beautiful on that mountain; because of their perseverance, they get to see it from a vantage point that few others get to see.
Adventure is often gritty and exhausting and sometimes even – boring. But it comes with spectacular views. That’s why raising kids is such an intense, adventurous adventure. It has rocked me to my core and required everything I’ve got. I’ve had to dig deep to find the perseverance to meet challenges that seem insurmountable and slog through days that feel endless. But the views from where I stand are indescribable. I get glimpses of the grown-ups my kids will be. I have unique insights into rich and complex personalities. I have a front-row seat to the purposes of God unfolding in a person. It’s breathtaking. This is the adventure of a lifetime; it might not always be exhilarating, but there is always something beautiful to see if I lift my eyes and look.
If you are feeling bogged down in boring and discouraged by difficult, don’t worry that you are missing out – this is part of the adventure. Find refreshment and motivation by lookingaround and enjoying the view. Even during a hard climb, there is always something incredible to see.
And in case you are wondering, the video of a grueling climb did not in the least alter my son’s opinion about his own mountaineering abilities. “Yeah, Mom, I could do that. I’M GOING TO BRING A ROPE.” Bless the boy. I’m so grateful that I get to watch that stubborn self-confidence develop.
P.S. I am welcoming my third son in a few weeks, so I will be taking a break from posting in order to focus on the adventure that is postpartum life. I’ll be back in a few months with stories of learning momming with three!