Monday, April 7, 2008

Alpiniste


Wasn't Conference awesome this past weekend? The messages of hope and inspiration were faith-building moments, a reminder to continue the journey, no matter how difficult the climb.

In keeping with that theme, I decided to share a poem I wrote a few years after my father's tragic death. A year after I wrote it, I had the "opportunity" to climb a mountain with the Mia Maids I was teaching at the time. It was the stake YM\YW super summer activity that year. Good times. (And yes, it's the mountain behind my home, Baldy---as seen in the picture above. The group of mountains resembles a frog face. =) The mountain on the far left---one of the frog eyes---the one that is "bald" on top is the infamous Baldy Mountain.)

I didn't realize it then, but I was in the process of developing a crippling form of rheumatoid arthritis. During the difficult climb, I nearly gave up. I sat down under a pine tree in the shade, in so much pain, I wasn't sure I could continue. I waved to everyone as they continued on without me. Then as I watched them climb that mountain, the thought came to mind: "Cheri Crane, you have never quit before!" It was true---in true Scots tradition, I had always pushed my way forward.

I stood up, gathered my courage, and began limping toward my goal. By the end of that climb, I was pulling myself up backwards. The only way I could move forward was to sit, and pull myself up the rest of the way with my arms as both legs had ceased to function. But when I reached the top, what a glorious reunion I experienced with those who had gone on before me. And the view from the summit was glorious, something I would have missed if I had persisted in giving up.

There are times in all of our lives when trials take everything we can give and then some. These are indeed the moments that try our souls.

I learned a lot of lessons the day I climbed Baldy Mountain. Never give up. Give the journey everything you've got. We are being cheered on constantly by those who have gone on before. Endure the climb---the view is always worth it. (Incidentally, Alpiniste is French for mountain climber).

Alpiniste

Darkness overwhelms
It is too much
I cannot climb
The sheer rock
That slices ‘til I bleed.
There is no strength to face this challenge.

But I have come this far—
To give up now makes a mockery of all that has passed before.

Closing my eyes, I am led by an inner peace that beckons,
Reminding me of a presence that has been there all along.
Slowly, I make my way, clutching at handholds that guide—
Sustain.
The Sun shines bright upon my face as I make the final stretch,
Reaching for what most would deem beyond my grasp.

It is finished.
I have learned to face the wind
The clouds
The rain.
I have conquered the fear that held me back.
At the summit is a beauty that was always there
Beyond my limited sight.
I turn and see another mountain—
But I have learned to climb.
Cheri J. Crane
1995

3 comments:

THE PORTER FAMILY said...

My mom called me today and told me about your sad news. I just wanted to let your family know that we love you and are praying for you at this difficult time.

Shellie said...

That was beautiful, thank you. I hope you are feeling sustained in your trials as much as it seems like it.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Amanda, thank you for your thoughtfulness. It has indeed been a difficult week. Your parents came by the other day to visit---in fact we've had so many visitors, phone calls, and meals brought in, it has been overwhelming, but those are the compassionate acts of service that help us to survive something like this. Thank you for your prayers.

Shellie, we have been spiritually carried this past week. I'm not sure how people survive without that sort of thing when trials descend and "mountains" loom in the distance.