Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Challenging, but worth it?

I made a friend.  His name is Steve. Some of you know of him, some of you don't. He is a retired Army veteran, fought in a couple wars, been around the block a time or two...single dad raising two amazing teenagers.  He has become my best friend.

He dragged me up and down a sloping, steep, rocky mountain side up to the tops of Georgianna Falls on Sunday.  Well, he said he dragged me...I agreed to it.  I admit it, I was scared...a little whiny, questioning why the hell people hike...what did I get myself into, how am I gonna make it down???  All the while, Steve trudged on with me in tow...helping me out across the rocks, talking me over the squishy slippery steps over the river two times and dragging me through the forest.  He even did this army sign language thing (he probably learned it in combat) when I couldn't hear him over the deafening thrashing sound of falling water.  It totally cracked me up!

The best part of it all was in the knowing of what a special and unique place these falls are to Steve.  He visited them as a child...memories of the water and rocks and trees all too vivid and fresh and ready to be shared with me: the stranger in this forest.

After we visited the top, Steve left me sitting alone on a flat rock listening to the water.  He gave me a pocket knife to fight off the forest boogie man..."probably end up stabbing myself in the foot more than anything else" I thought to myself.  He tip toed to the top along the slippery waterfall's edge, snapped a couple of shots of the pools at the top and snuck down behind me and started throwing stuff at me...just like my brother would have.

When we decided to finally leave, he made me climb higher to a flatter, less rocky terrain so I would feel safer...he did a great job getting me back to solid ground...I only yelped once, okay, maybe twice and fell on my butt once, really only once!  What an amazing day with an amazing friend. 

Life offers challenges... ask me, ask a combat vet, ask your best friend, ask yourself.  How we choose to handle them when in the depth of it all shows true character.  We already know that...should we wish to be dragged through the forest, pushing ourselves to climb higher, be stronger, breathe deeper, be more?  If you don't already know the answer to that question, maybe you need to give it a whirl and find out what you come up with.