Going to paradise with you: a reflection

Mt. Rainier has been a part of my life forever. It sits in the corner of my skyline and I admire it on sunny days. I get excited when I see it and love to point it out to others. A few weeks ago, a close friend and I were talking about how powerful and amazing God is that he tells the water how far it can come onto land and commands the mountain not to erupt. I am aware of its power, its magnitude and I have admired its beauty from afar for 28 years. I have been wanting to visit the mountain and had brought it up to Caleb a few times over our years of friendship but we never would go. My day started pretty rocky, I was navigating some postpartum insecurities. I’m working on trusting my body again, finding my strength and balance and just getting used to my new life. There was some conversation and some tears because being vulnerable is freeing but can also be so exhausting. I was full of frustration and embarrassment and fear and it just didn’t feel like the best timing to go do something new.

The ride there was great! Great conversation, baby was sleep in the back and great bonding time. So many times it can feel like life gets us all over the place. We are focused on so many things and heading in so many directions and it felt great to just be together and engaging and sharing hopes and dreams and plans. The sun is out the mood is set and I am so excited to arrive to the beautiful snow capped mountain until, we get there. The phones no longer have service. Now we are in the park and I can’t read the map because I don’t know where we started. We are going up hill after hill and this winding two lane road, cliff side with little to no guard rails is so far from what is safe. My whole life I thought you pull up to the mountain like it looks from Tacoma and park and hike as far as you want. Boy was I wrong! It’s a national forest and you drive up pretty far, we were 5,400 feet up to hike or camp or whatever.

About 30 mins up, I begin to feel anxious. I don’t know where we are going, how long it will take us, I haven’t eaten, phone has no reception, baby is up and I don’t want him to get restless… My mind is full of reasons why we should leave. The simplest task begin to feel impossible and I can feel my chest feeling tighter and the tears begin to fall. Why am I crying?! This is supposed to be a romantic fun conclusion to our stay-cation and I’m ruining it with my over dramatic emotional feelings that always in the way. I was determined to make it to wherever it was we were going. We had seen some waterfalls but it was mostly trees and scary edges. We found out where we were on the map and I took some deep breaths and committed to going to Paradise. It was about 3 miles away and I decided to pray my way through it. I asked God to help me to trust him and to free me from the overwhelming fear. There were hundreds of people there and nothing bad was happening. I was so caught up in the what if’s. There were caution signs everywhere, I’m in my head about the earthquake watch and thinking of what will happen to my family if the big one hits and we are stranded or worse. I keep praying as we go around the twist and turns of the beautiful mountain side and finally we arrive! After some of my babies puff cereal and a bathroom trip, I’m able to appreciate paradise. We didn’t go on the hike to the field up higher but across from the parking lot was a ledge. I was able to walk over to enjoy the amazing views and appreciate the magnitude of what I had encountered and enjoy my husband and baby boy. Suddenly, everything I had just been through didn’t feel so bad and I was able to enjoy the ride back down and felt even better and closer from having made it through that experience. I want to share with you some of the points I took from this trip.

Here is what I took away from this experience.

  • Trust your driver. My physical driver was my husband. He had control of the wheel and I had to trust him enough to safely get him to our destination. I recognized it was also his first time and neither of us had the advantage of knowing where we were or having the comforts of gps and google. I know that he would do anything to make sure his family was safe and cared for and he has experienced circumstances that have equipped him to navigate the vehicle and also support me in my feelings. He took such a calm tone not to try and change how I felt, but to hear what my fears were and reassure me in my embarrassment and shame. I also was able to see that spiritually I have to trust the driver in my life in general. God knows the plan, he drew the map and spoke the mountain. And if I claim to have him in my heart and trust him to protect and provide for me, why should I fear? 2 Timothy 1:7 ( For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. )
  • Accept the unexpected When I was pregnant, I got sick in the car driving to work after eating a fry and taking a sip of sprite. I was done for the day but I called a friend and she told me to go to goodwill and get some new pants and continue my day. She told me that I lacked tenacity. I still gave up on the day because… I was over it! Yet the word stuck with me. Tenacity is: the quality or fact of being very determined or continuing to exist ; persist. While deciding to continue up the the road I thought to my self, I don’t have any tenacity. When things go out of the “plan” or what I expect to be the outcome, I fail to persist. I will give up and lose all the determination instantly. Pushing through to paradise showed me that whatever is on the other side of the fear and hurdle is worth it.
  • When you get to the top, all you can see is up. Once we arrived we went to the ledge to take pictures. I tried to look down to see the road and all I saw was trees, however I had a clear view of everything above me. I actually considered us going up higher because having conquered so much it only seemed right to continue further. Suddenly all that days worth of struggle was washed away because the views and beauty were more overwhelming than dwelling on what was behind me. This is true with life as well. As we continue to grow and move forward we must continue to look at what is in front of us. When we dwell on how hard it was to get where we are we can’t fully appreciate the great things we have and the even better ahead.
  • Tell your story On the way back all I could think about was writing this blog to share my experiences. I had overcome so much and experienced something on my to do list. The way back always seems so much faster because we already know where we have been. What it looks like and can anticipate the turns and pass that on to others to help them along their journey. Do not allow shame or fear to stop you from telling how you got from here to there. Share with those who come from similar backgrounds as well as those who may not even be able to relate.

Overall I am so grateful for this experience. At one point I was able to see how my son only knows the fears that we as adults give him. That day I declared that I will not limit him based on my limits. I will keep him safe yet but I will overcome certain fears to show him just how able he/we are. I also was able to get to a new level with my husband. We discussed later how I recognized he may have had fears as well and saved sharing them for when it was over in order to help me feel secure. That act of selflessness was so powerful to me. It’s not fair and I know that he did it because he cared. I appreciate him for hearing me and taking us for this experience. If you haven’t been to the mountain yet, I encourage you to go. Your mountain may not be Rainer, it may be confronting your inner child or applying for that job, but life is for living! Work through those scary parts of change and challenge yourself to experience life outside of your comfort zone. 💛

Thank you for reading.

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