Traveling with my sons through the great state of California was such an awesome experience for each of us. During our stay in Los Angeles, I had a desire to hike to the Hollywood sign. For the few that I've shared this with, some were completely amazed and others were like, why? Well, so many lessons were learned this day. The three of us made the hike to the base of the mountain, but only two of us made the hike to the Wisdom Tree and the Hollywood sign. Those two would be my sons. Don't feel validated in your question of why too soon though. My mind was fully prepared and up for the challenge, but my body was not, my foot in particular. I've been having issues with my foot, in fact I need to have surgery, but haven't sat down long enough to make that happen. The path we chose, while shorter than the rest, was also the most challenging. It was so steep it felt like we were trying to climb up a wall standing at 90 degrees. I still attempted, but my oldest son told me twice not to try it. He had to tell me twice because sometimes I can be a bit hard-headed. I actually like to think of it more in terms of being persistent, and not wanting to back down from a challenge, but I listened and took a seat at the base of the mountain waiting for my sons' return. As I sat there, I saw many people of different races, sizes, ages, and gender pass by. The most exciting was watching those who came back down after making the hike. They were so excited. They exchanged high-fives with those they were traveling with and many yelled out in pure accomplishment, "Yes, I did it!" That was truly an emotional moment for them, and even for me as a mere observer. As I watched my sons disappear into the mountain, my chest began to swell up as I felt a sense of pride. A while later, a gentleman came down after completing his hike, and said, "Your sons are doing an amazing job up there." I smiled from ear to ear! Some time passed, and I received a text from my youngest son stating that they made it to the wisdom tree and were going to return. I asked how far away was the Hollywood sign, and he responded and said .8 miles. I sent both my sons a text and said, If y'all are less than a mile from the sign, y'all probably can make it. Just take a rest, but if you think the terrain will be too much, just head back when y'all are ready. I'd hate for y'all to be so close and turn around." My sons text later with pics and videos of the their view from the Hollywood sign. I got a little teary eyed. Then, they asked if I would come pick them up in another spot. An hour and a half later...yes, AN HOUR AND A HALF LATER, I rescued them from a curb on Canyon Dr. GPS was not very cooperative this day and sent me into the mountains on dizzy, winding, steep, very narrow roads; it sent me in several circles through the mountains. Finally, I had to pray a very serious prayer to God about my children. He immediately reminded me that they are His, and in His graciousness, led me to them. We were all hot and exhausted, and stopped for a much needed meal. While eating, in true Mama, teacher form I asked what were their lessons. My oldest son said he felt accomplished, he was so glad they didn't quit before making it to the Hollywood sign. My youngest son said, he learned not to take short-cuts, that it ends up taking longer in the grand scheme of things. I was so proud of them! I AM so proud of them! I learned that my sons are at an age that I can encourage them, but I can't force them...some things they have to come to on their own if they are going to really internalize the lessons. My oldest expected that I was going to fuss when I finally found them because I had been sent on several goose chases trying to find them, in the mountains no less, but all I could do was smile and tell them how proud I was of them!
What are the lessons?
Sometimes you have to take counsel from those you may not consider the authority or the expert. It just might save your life.
Don't stop before the breakthrough, the reward, the heralded finish! DON'T STOP! There is a sense of unrivaled accomplishment that is felt only when you finish.
Don't take short-cuts. Short-cuts only cut you short. Don't try to circumvent the process trying to get to the finish. The jewels, the nuggets, the lessons are in the process! In whatsoever state you find yourself, therein be content.
What's shortest is not always easiest, and what's easiest is not always best.
Lastly, even though the physical experience may be the same, depending on where you are on your journey, your life experiences, your perspective, and your outlook and mindset, what you internalize and take away from those experiences may be completely different. Valuable, but different.
My life, my testimony!
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