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the hill


Doubly wealthy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountaintops are within reach.

- John Muir

My family and I recently returned from a month long stay in Winter Park, CO where we served at a Young Life camp for high school kids. This happens to be a place where I’ve spent many months over the last eighteen years, a place where I’ve experienced adventure and quiet, where I’ve been stretched and refined. It’s where I met my husband, made lifelong friends and made lasting memories.

One of the best (and there are many) things about this place is the entrance. It begins with a dirt road that curls and winds for a mile or so; then, it finally peaks, only to dramatically descend into camp, providing an extraordinary view and the most grand of entrances. One of my favorite things to do over the past 18 years of summers there is to jog up to the entrance from the center of camp. It’s a little more than a mile from where I start, up to the sign at the top. A mile doesn’t sound so bad, and it usually isn’t, but it’s the incline (not to mention the altitude) that has worked me over for almost two decades. It’s steep. So steep.

I ran this route as a young twenty something who traveled from sea level Houston to the Rockies. I ran it alone. I ran it with friends. I ran it with a Discman (yep, I’m old). And an IPod. I ran with no music. I ran it with a 3 month old in the jog stroller. I ran it the next summer with a much heavier 15 month old - in the same stroller. I ran it after having my second and third babies. I ran as a mom of four littles. I sprinted. I jogged. For 18 years, I’ve been running this hill. And I never made it to the top without stopping…

Until this summer.

After 3 days and 3 attempts in, I decided, “That’s it. I’m going to do this.” There are so many thoughts that went through my head, but one of them was my 6:30 am BeauCo class. I had the thought that if they were there with me, there’s no way I would have stopped. We would have been pushing together. Motivating one another. Willing each other to get to the top of that mountain- so I kept going, head down, smaller steps, until I reached the top.

For so long, I had myself convinced I couldn’t do it. So I didn’t. But I finally did it because I believed I could. What’s crazy is that once I finished, I wasn’t all that surprised - I knew I had it in me, as if part of me was saying, “what have you been waiting for!”

It took our community to convince me- and they didn’t even know it. It just happened.

I know I’m physically stronger after a year at the Barn, but more importantly I’m mentally stronger. I say it to others all the time, but I’m not sure if I believed to be true for me.

You’re stronger than you think you are.

Really. You are.

I hope you believe it to be true for you.

I know that now, thanks to a random mountain in Colorado…and to all of you.