Monday, June 27, 2011

Climb Every Mountain

This past week I had the opportunity to help take our Laurels to a nearby canyon for a rappelling adventure. Originally, four of our girls were planning on participating. By the actual day of this activity, we were down to two who could still attend. Both girls are remarkable young ladies, but one has faced tremendous challenges. Her name is Sam, short for Samantha. She was in a horrible car accident about 8 months ago. Comatose for a time, she has fought an intense battle to regain abilities and skills most of us take for granted. She is still waging war on a daily basis against obstacles like double vision. I have no doubt that she will conquer these trials--she is a determined young woman and it is amazing to see the progress she has made.

Sam was an honor student in the past, and it was not surprising to me to see her name back on that same honor roll this past May at the end of the school year. She is also playing the piano for us in Y. W. again although she usually accomplishes this task by keeping one eye closed. She is a wonderful example of perseverance and courage and the light of Christ shines from her eyes when she shares her testimony of those things that matter most.

As we stood together, waiting for her turn to tackle the mountain on Saturday, she told me something I will always try to remember. She was sharing her secret for succeeding in life. It is simply this: "If I do well at something like cooking, I enjoy my efforts. If I'm not thrilled by what I've done, I can either accept it as is and be grateful for it, or try again and improve. The main thing is to be happy."

I suspect that is the key in life. We all face trials in this mortal realm. It's part of why we're here, part of our growing and learning process. Our attitude will determine how well we will do. Sam's positive mindset has helped her overcome tremendous challenges this past year. I was visiting with Sam and her mother at the hospital on a day when a physical therapist was trying to help Sam relearn to walk up steps. I was so touched by how hard Sam concentrated on lifting her foot, one step at a time. Ironically, I had brought her a framed picture that afternoon, something that has hung in a place of honor on the wall of my computer room for several years. It shows someone walking up a golden staircase, one step at a time. I had originally bought that picture to help remind me that all things are possible when we believe in ourselves. After the accident, I  purchased a new frame for it, and presented it to Sam, knowing of the challenges she faced at the time.

I thought of that picture again on Saturday as I tearfully watched Sam climb up the face of a mountain, step by step. I was not at all surprised when she reached the top, grinning over her victory that day. I know it took a tremendous effort for her to accomplish that feat. At one point, one of her legs began to tremble uncontrollably, but she ignored it, and continued to push herself, determined to conquer this challenge. The joy in her step at she rappelled down that same mountain several minutes later was obvious to us all. She had successfully attained a goal, believing in herself every step of the way. And to me, that is the secret of living this life to the fullest.

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