The mountain that’s in front of me never goes away. It is always looming, seeming to grow. I work hard to chip away at it. I make lists of things to do and strategies of how I will get it done and I sweat and I cry and I labor. Slow and steady, sometimes fast and furious–the mountain still remains. The laundry that I got caught up on last week seems like a bigger pile this week. The dishes that I did this morning are there again in the afternoon and again in the evening. While I am working on one side of the mountain, the other side seems to grow even bigger.
There are days that I feel completely overwhelmed with my mountain. Frustrated that it won’t just move out of my path so that I can move FORWARD, make some progress, do something new! But alas, the mountain remains… day after day, week after week, month after month. I am weary of my mountain. I am tired of waking up and staring at the rock face that fills me with dread and reminds me that I failed to remove it the day before. I am tired of the story it tells, stuck in repeat: the monotony of my days. I have tried to just climb my mountain to get to the other side, but I never seem to make it to the top.
You see, this mountain is blocking my view. It’s blocking me from peace and rest and joy. It traps me in the shadows of despair and makes me feel insignificant and incapable. The rocks seem to form from the depths of the earth, like lava pushing up from beneath the surface. The mountain never stops growing, and if I stop clearing it, it becomes insurmountable. Some days it fills me with panic, I am terrified that it will become too big for me to handle, too large for me to manage. One day, I worry my mountain will come crashing down, capturing me on all sides, trapping me with pressure.
So one day, I decided to leave my mountain. I walked away to explore the landscape on the left and right. I brought nothing with me, no baggage, no weight, no burdens. I walked into the vast unknown… free. I walked a long ways out, observing the flowers in the fields and the cool pools of water that refresh and delight. Every step further that I went, my lungs seemed to pull in more air. My very breath came easier, my mind was more clear. My heart was light and my spirit was soaring on the currents of the breeze.
I turned back to look at my mountain, always on my mind and in my heart, and was amazed! From the distance I saw it wasn’t a mountain at all, but a huge diamond encased in rock. It was a treasure. I wasn’t tearing it down but rather I was revealing something beautiful underneath. Each piece of rock that I moved, every pebble I swept away doing something that seemed mundane and common, was revealing a little bit of glorious light. I could see pieces of the shimmering light shining through, illuminating areas in my own life that I had learned lessons that were painful but had perfected me somehow. I saw the beauty in my labor, the sacrifice that would produce a result, a masterpiece!
One day, when my kids are grown and gone, my mountain that seemed huge and overwhelming will be a gem. It will shine light on my children as they embark on mountains of their own, showing them and helping them and encouraging them on their paths. My kids are part of the beauty that is unfolding and they will take part of my mountain with them. Every load of laundry that I do with a heart of gratefulness and joy uncovers a little gem in the lives of my kids. Likewise every project that I do with a heart of bitterness and self-pity is producing an inheritance in my children as well, it is how they will view the mountains that stand in their paths. As I go through my own painful lessons and seasons of growth and hardship, my kids inherit part of my diamond. They receive the same lessons through me, as they watch with their ever-seeing eyes and intent little ears, without the same hardship. This is part of the treasure they earn, just by being part of my mountain. My mountain is my own to bear, but the blessings, the diamonds, and also the way that I view it… are passed on to my whole family.
So today, my mountain seems a little less dark and a little more beautiful. I see my mountain not as a weight around my neck but rather an investment into the life and hearts of my family. You see, in the moment, as I do those dishes for the third time that day or clean up yet another accident on the floor… my mountain was never-ending and I couldn’t see the big picture. I was just too close to it to understand… that EVERY action that I do for the sake of my home and my family, is uncovering something far greater. And that my attitude towards it is forming the lens through which my children will view their lives. I want them to inherit the perspective from the wilderness, to stay focused on the result, not the task. I want them to see the diamond.