Mountain Climbing and the Present Moment
By: Samantha Cooney
A couple days ago, I was on a hike up a mountain. If you think that hiking to the top of a mountain seems like an outdoor experience rife with metaphors about life to be conveniently employed in a blogpost a few days later, you would be right and you best believe I thought about that as I climbed up said mountain, because I am a writing major in college. But sometimes, even when you are encouraging yourself as you are panting up a giant rock that “this will make a good story later,” climbing a mountain is difficult if you don’t know how to do it with the right focus. On the way up, I definitely struggled with thinking about how long I’d been hiking, and how much longer I had to hike, both of which seemed like forever. I would groan when I’d think about how much my feet were going to hurt in the morning or how much freaking walking I’ve done on this trip already. In those moments, I thought about giving up, and that I should just pretend my blood sugar dropped so someone had to carry me down the mountain.
But then, something would snap me out of it. Everyone in my group would start singing the lyrics of Ed Sheeran songs. Anna would find a snail on the side of the road and decide to name him Carl. Katie would pretend to propose to Gracyzna with a bunch of fresh wildflowers. Leah would start asking questions about my life, and actually listen when I gave her answers. Dan would randomly announce he was going to try and talk to a hermit on the side of the mountain, and then actually attempt it, even though he knows no Italian, and is wearing a bucket hat unironically. Each of these little moments made the hours I spent hiking up and down that mountain a lot less painful, because I wasn’t turning inward, reflecting on the agonizing past or the uncertainty of the future. I was appreciating the beauty, hilarity and weirdness of the people around me; the people God had put in my present moment. In those moments, and within the people God put there, I was able to find joy even when I was suffering.
Though the metaphor may be incredibly overused, life really is like that mountain, with all its distractions forcing us to think about the past or the future, and stretching out our suffering. But if we take every moment as it is, engaging with the people around us who God has put in our lives just for today, we will find ourselves happier and more in tune with God’s will. To conclude, I will leave you to reflect upon the words of one of the great poets of our generation:
Ain’t about how fast I’ll get there / Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side / It’s the climb.
Sam Cooney graduated from St. Catherine Academy in Wixom, MI. She writes too much and sleeps too little. She loves her faith and enjoys Broadway, the Office, and being weird. She is studying Language, Literature, and Writing at Eastern Michigan University.