by Sarah Coolidge, www.sarahcoolidge.com.
In fact, just fifteen minutes ago the first page of this blog post simply vanished from my computer screen. I spent a chunk of time looking for it to no avail. So, I had to start all over again.
What is most interesting to me about this “glitch” is how illustrative it is of a process I have faced and gone through time and time again. It is the process that was at the core of my family’s trip to Africa.
It is about what happens when we make a decision to do something or set a goal for ourselves and hit an obstacle.
It is whether we rise up again when our step forward has been met with resistance and we find ourselves flat on our back.
It is how we choose to answer the key question: “This thing you say you want…. Exactly HOW MUCH do you want it?”
Now, starting a new blog post after my first one disappeared is not a major undertaking. A little of my time was wasted, that is all. Still, there was an alternate course when the obstacle arose…. I could have given up on the project altogether. Instead, I chose to start over, and even took the “glitch” as my new starting point.
Many of us choose the big task of becoming parents, with all the dreams and goals that come with the job. No doubt you would agree that parenting is a larger and longer commitment than a little blog post, with way more impact on our lives.
Personally, I had some wonderful dreams for my role as a mother. I had dreams for myself, dreams for my sons and dreams for the world we were going to live in. I especially wanted to give my kids a taste of some of the great adventures that my parents had shared with me. We camped, we traveled, we explored the outdoors, we took pictures.
We climbed mountains.
I had lots of dreams for my own family and I can tell you that if intention and love were all it took to make dreams come true, every single one of them would have materialized. But that is not quite the way it went.
Not that parenting is an easy job, even when things go reasonably well. And when things go wrong it can be overwhelming and heartbreaking. Sometimes we see the hardship coming; sometimes it sneaks up on us and throws us for a complete loop. Like a roller-coaster ride, we get on board and we can’t get off until it is over.
Or can we? It is true that it can get so tough that we give up. Or shut down. Or both.
Being a mother has taught me a lesson or two about persistence. My kids have watched me come back after defeat time and time again. Things are better for us now, and we have an opportunity to celebrate our family and reclaim our legacy.
This celebration was one of several reasons that I took my kids on a trip to Africa, just like my parents took me. I wanted to climb to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro and stand on the summit and holler out to the universe “We did it!”
We were going to demonstrate, as individuals, and as a family, that we have taken some hits, but we are still on our feet!
Climbing Kilimanjaro was going to emphasize my own personal mission as well: to inspire people, parents, and families, to get up again and keep on going after they have been knocked down. To show them that there is no chasm that is so deep and wide that cannot be bridged.
Experience is the best teacher, or so they say. Can you imagine the experience of climbing to the summit of a 19,341 foot mountain with your child? Do you think it might be a bit challenging for you both? Would the feeling at the top make all of the little inconveniences and temptations to turn back melt away? Would you both learn a lesson about overcoming obstacles and sticking with it? Would you become closer as a family?
I thought so. And I was right, although in ways that I could never have imagined. Our adventure travelling across the planet became a celebration of the power of persistence and love. There were many surprise adventures along the way, some twists and turns and unexpected outcomes, but all of that proved to strengthen us as individuals and as a family. The new heights that we reached were not only on the sides of Kilimanjaro: they were in our hearts and souls.