Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Fog Has Lifted

It didn't go according to plan, that's for sure.

My clothes were laid out and ready for an early departure. And I was two hours behind schedule with kids home before noon today.

My Camelbak was full. And it leaked all over my backpack and leggings.

My gloves, ear band, and sweatshirt were in the car. And it was 35 degrees and I was wet.

When I got out of the Suburban at Usery Pass, I was almost defeated. I mean, why even climb that mountain today? Excuses flooded my mind.

Instead of heading home, I headed up, Adele's 25 and Phantom of the Opera blasting in my ears.
Hardly anyone was on the trail. The air was pleasantly crisp, and once I started walking, I forgot the wet spot on my leg and my time crunch. I sang to myself and let my thoughts wander. I was ready to conquer that mountain.
Things have been hard around here lately. My shoulders are tired from carrying so many worries. Questions with no visible answers swirl constantly in my mind, questions like:

What can I control? and What can I not control?
Is it possible to mourn the loss of something that wasn't really mine to begin with?
How can I let go?
Why is life so hard sometimes?
How can I be happy when things are going so wrong?

The higher I got on the mountain, the less my mind dwelt on these burdensome, unanswerable questions, and the more I began to see the desert that I love. The saguaro and barrel cacti. The spiny ocotillo sporting a "wet winter" coat of leaves. The granite and sandstone. And the blue, blue Arizona sky. There is nowhere on earth with a sky like ours. My worries stayed on the valley floor as my mind felt clear and free for the first time in weeks.
My shuffled playlist of favorites stopped as it searched for the next song. Single notes played on an acoustic guitar--what was this? Tangled? That's not hiking music. I never would have chosen it.
I climbed up on a rock and listened to the words. I have been so trapped inside my mind and heart with no relief in sight for so long, but sitting there above my world, I began at last to see the light.
"and it's like the fog has lifted." I felt my heavy burdens physically lift from me, and for the first time in weeks . . . I felt peace. "It's like the sky is new." Everything was suddenly ok. Suddenly in clearer perspective. "The world has somehow has shifted."

"Everything was different" in that moment.  I don't know how long I sat on that rock, and I don't know how many times I listened to that song. Over and over again until my mind finally found some rest and my heart began to heal.
I knew there was no time to reach the cave now--to see the unusally green moss covering the rocks above me. But for the first time in my entire life--reaching the end and finding the answers weren't what mattered most. What mattered was the journey--where I was at that exact moment in time was enough. Taking time to sit and appreciate the joy, along with all the heartache and struggle, was enough. It was enough. That shift in my driving, achievement-centered, solution-anchored thinking was monumental, and words are inadequate to describe that moment on that rock that day.

As the last notes of the song finished for the seventh or twelfth or twenty-second time, I climbed down from the rock, waved to the passing hikers, and headed down the trail without a second glance back at where I thought I was headed when I began my ascent. No new solutions. No real answers. But I had found joy in the journey.

And it was more than enough.

It was everything.


  1. I'm glad you found joy in your journey.

    1. I answered your message just before leaving on this hike. Page 16 came in handy. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for writing this--I can so relate. The Peter Hollens version of that song has actually been on my playlist for the last few weeks--maybe it was for my 4 year old Tangled loving daughter, or maybe it has been something I needed to hear, too. I hope you continue to feel peace.

  3. Thank you for this message!! SO beautiful in many ways!

  4. I know what I'm going to be adding to my playlist today. Thank you - right now my life is in free fall with so many issues taking up space in my already crowded brain. As I swam this morning I concentrated on my breathing and counting the lengths - not letting other thoughts intrude. That was my time and I needed that today. Take care, C

  5. This was beautiful to read. And, oh, how I miss that sky!
    I needed this tonight, so thank you.

  6. I'm so glad you have found some peace. It is the one thing that keeps us going when life seems too difficult to stand. I love the calmness and assurance that comes to me when I literally turn my problems over to the Lord because He always responds by somehow giving me added strength and peace, peace, peace.

  7. Some revelations come hard, and some come easy. I'm glad to read that yours is coming and glad to read that you recognised it.

  8. Beautiful story and pictures.
    Donna , NY

  9. You know when to enjoy that desert view--in February! I pray for clarity every single day. To see things as Heavenly Father sees them, to understand what is front of me when the way is not clear, and to trust that holding my ground will be enough when I'm not sure what to make of the challenges that present in front of my path. Patience seems to be the message I hear over and over. Journey on, Sister.