The other day when I was out for my walk, pushing Conor in the stroller up Wentworth Avenue, I struggled for the last three blocks, as the street becomes increasingly uphill. I had set a goal of reaching Mt. Gleason Street, but many times I heard whispers as my legs burned and my heart pumped: "Just cut down one of these side streets and head back home. At least you got out here today. It's not going to make that big of a difference." But I trudged on, utterly ticked off and sweating. I just want to be in shape again! I don't want to have to do all this stupid walking up these stupid hills, pushing this heavy baby. The last hundred feet or so is very steep as it makes a final climb before leveling out. Something in me kept taking one more step. I braced myself behind that stroller, with arms straight out and leaning over into the pushing, I finished the climb. The thought occurred to me that though the entire walk up Wentworth is difficult, it's the last several yards that are the hardest and the steepest, and always the ones I'm most proud to have walked. And then, I get to turn around, and walk effortlessly (for a while, anyway) downhill.
Life is especially hard right now. Steep and challenging, and the voice whispers almost daily to just quit. Take a side street and get off the course. In the meantime, I tell myself that I set out to do this, darn it, and I just keep taking another step.
Our family was together this year for Thanksgiving. Four of my husband's siblings came as well, and everyone had a lovely day. I worked my tail off and the food was incredible, but I didn't feel as full of gratitude as I felt full of dressing and pumpkin pie. I faked it just fine, but to those who know me best (apparently no one in this house), the fact that I used "very nice" disposable plates and cups would have been a dead giveaway that something was off.
I must feel gratitude before I go to bed. I need to feel gratitude before I go to bed.
So this year, I'm grateful that my legs work in the trudging, that I haven't yet listened to the voice and taken a side street detour, and that I have enough faith to believe that the downhill must be coming up soon.