climbing a mountain

Danny I’m doing this in English for you since you couldn’t be there!

Okay so today I climbed a mountain. Not just any mountain, tabel mountain!!! I CONQUERED IT!! Yeah!! In December I climbed Wolfbergskeure in the Cederberg and apparently it’s supposed to be much harder, but I gotta say, TM (table mountain as it’s referred to among those who’ve climbed it:-) almost got me down. Since I’d done the one in December I was totally keen and not even at all worried and was just like “oh yeah let’s do it.” Like some things in life that we think are easy or not think about much, I realised that I maybe should’ve trained a bit more or something. This might be due to the fact that I’m less fit that Decmeber and I also have a cold and some cold medicine that I’ve been drinking so my body is using its energy to fight the germs (my theory at least he he)

So about 15 minutes up I was like…damn. I can’t breathe. Like I was wheezing and my lovely friend gave me her asthma pump. I was shaking and I was just like, there’s no way I’m gonna make it up that mountain today. I couldn’t even do the bottom. But my friends were “there’s not I in Team Africa” ( we picked a name, TEAM AFRICA, he he) so we are gonna make it!! I told them to go, coz they were fitter than me, and meet then at the top, or just wait somewhere, but they were determined to take me along.

So I came up with some…ummm..wisdoms?…things?? for when climbing a mountain… real or metaphorical…coz there are always mountains in life.

Make friends. Take friends along. They keep you going when you can’t and believe in you when you believe in yourself. Iwas ready to turn AROUND by 15 minutes into the climb, we still had almost 2 hours to go. But they saw that I could make it even if I couldn’t.

Somehow in life we manage to handle things we never thought we could. Some sucky things had happened to me lately and came to mind while climbing the mountain, and I just knew that human beings are able to handle infinitely more than we think we can. We think we have a ceiling but we can do so much more than we think we can. We can push our minds and our bodies to a place beyond our wildest dreams.

Somehow I managed to put one foot in front of the other. One very wobbly foot. And all I could think about was that moment. I couldn’t look up because it was too far. I couldn’t look down because the bottom was still too close. I couldn’t even set short goals because they seemed unattainalbe. But I could do one more step. Each time. I could put one foot in front of the other. And my friends were like “if tourists can do it we can” and “go Karlien, you’re gonna make it” and without that I would not have made it. They waited for me and encouraged me and never once got irritated by my slow progress.

The most discouraging was when you think you made progress and you’re so close and you come around a corner and there are just infinately more steps. You think you’re almost there and the end is not when you thought it would be. In life we often think the end to our “mountain” has come, or we think we’ve reached the end of a certain period of suffering, and something happens and we get so discouraged and feel like we can’t go on. But then I just kept looking at the step in front of me. The end was there somewhere but I couldn’t even think of it. My mind could be on nothing except here and now. One more step. One more breath. One more moment. One more day of getting up. Make it to the end of this day, this hour, this minute…take it slow. Breathe.

My friends reminded me to breathe. We would often stop and catch our breaths and just look down. And the down became further and further away. I learned to look down not up. To see how far I’ve come instead of how far I needed to go. I knew that every single step I took was one I didn’t need to take again. Was one step closer. In life, every painful moment that passes is one you dont have to live through again. There is always an end, and with every painful breath it gets closer.

So we stopped often and looked down. At the scenery. The ocean. The harbour. Houses. Roads. The mountain. It was so amazing. Every moment was amazing because in the midst of the madness it felt like God was climbing with me. I could not take more steps but he took them with me. In my mind I couldn’t even talk with Him. He just carried me. It was painful but worth it. Pushing yourself. Your body. Your closeness to God. Building something in a way that you can’t describe. It can’t be build any other way but through this experience. God often refines us in the fire. And only He knows how long He will keep us there. We need to just trust that He knows the way.

The end was the hardest for me. I was tired. It became incredibly steep right before the top. The last part is often the hardest. The darkest part of the night is just before the dawn. We were in the shade, and I could see the sun peeking through the crack where we were heading, between the two rocks. I knew if I could just get to that sun I would make it. I could see the sun but every step was so painful. Every climb seemed exponentially harder than the previous one. Every breath harder to breathe. It seemed like the closer the top came, the further it was from me.

But I made it. In His grace and glory and with my beautiful friends I made it!! I have conquered table mountain!

And somewhere, inbetween the breathing and the stepping and the focusing and the almost-dying, it became less about the destination and more about the journey… The top is not necessarily the goal. The climb is.

Oh yeah, my favourite quote from the climb, my friend Carrie just after slipping and almost falling down “My life just flashed in front of my eyes…it was so exciting!”


5 Responses to “climbing a mountain”

  1. 2 Tsholo Mei 3, 2010 om 12:17 nm

    i also took on table mountain for the first time this year…and i have to agree, having people with you encouraging you and taking each step with definitely helps. i don’t know how many times i wanted to give up and turn around but because of them i finally made it to the top…and i’m so glad i did!

    and congrats on making it to the top.

  2. 3 Cherese Mei 12, 2010 om 6:08 nm

    Karliena..Jou woorde is so diep.Mens beleef die klim saam met jou.En ek kry self hoendervleis as j so praat oor jou verhouding met God.Dit gee my self hoop en maak my bly!!

    Wou maar net se ek jeug saam met jou dat j TM oorwin het!!
    Sterkte vir die volgende klim!

  3. 5 Cara Meintjes Mei 16, 2010 om 5:49 nm

    Awesommmme post! Dankie Karlien ek’s mal oor jou blog šŸ™‚ Yay @ Tsholo wat ook lees ! Tsholo was it a vision K trip?

    Ek het harodp gelag vir “if tourists can do i so can we” šŸ˜‰

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