About a year ago this summer I had my second foot surgery.
I went in to the doctor last fall for my follow up appointment. The dr. said that my foot was not perfect, but it was as good as it was going to get. So, I asked him if I could do physical activities again. He said yes. I asked if running counted and he said, “yes. The more you do the better. Run. Jump. Skip. Ski. Whatever you want to do, do it. The more the better. It will strengthen your muscles and tendons in your foot and keep them strong.”
I was happy about the good news. I went home and told Rick that I was now cleared to run so I thought I should look for a local 5k and sign up and begin training. Rick’s response was, “why would you do that? You’ve already done a 5k. Do something bigger, something you haven’t done before. You should do a half marathon.”
I thought he was crazy.
But I started running. The first time I ran, I made it to the end of the driveway. Each day that I ran I would make it a little further. One day I mentioned that crazy idea of running a half marathon to one of my friends. She said, “great, let’s both sign up.”
I now had 3 people telling me that I could do something that I had never done. I didn’t think I would ever be able to do it considering I had spent half of the previous 6 months in a cast/using crutches. I didn’t actually run with my friend. More importantly, she was there to check on me and make sure I ran. She would email me or call. It was her concern for me that encouraged me to stick with my training schedule and therefore finish a half marathon.
This was similar to the experience that I had at Girls Camp. We got up on a Tuesday morning to hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls. It’s a 5 ½ mile round trip hike from the campground to the falls and back. On the day we hiked, it was clear, sunny, and HOT. We had about 45 people hiking together. Some in our group were athletic and conditioned to hike. Others were a little less adept at hiking through sand and rocks and were lacking in the thrill of hiking in the dry Southern Utah desert. Ages ranged from 12 to 60 something. So, needless to say we had quite a range of abilities and desires. Some didn’t do well with the heat and got dehydrated. Others had a hard time with their shoes filling with sand and the way the toes had to bend to get through the thick sand (that would be me!)
I came to the same conclusion regarding both of these experiences:
In order to do difficult things, we must surround ourselves with people who have the same goal in mind whether that goal is training for and running a marathon or hiking 5 ½ miles to a waterfall or living a Christlike life. It seems that if we surround ourselves with people who are trying to do the same things that we are, then we will be more successful than if we attempt to do hard things without any support.
I think about all of those girls who were hiking in that hot summer sun. I really doubt that many of us would have completed the hike if we had set out on our own. I’m pretty sure that I would have turned around and gone back to the shade and called it a day. But every girl that said that the hike was hard was later happy that she endured and continued and did hard things. Relaxing in the shade and refreshing ourselves in the waterfall was such a reward and made the hike back down less difficult as well.
I think of our journey in life. It is important to surround ourselves with those who also have similar goals in mind. Sometimes I wonder why it is necessary to go to Church each week and to all of the other various meetings and commitments. But, I think that it is necessary to be close to other people in order to “bear one another’s burdens”. We need to be close to others in a physical and spiritual sense. Life is hard. ”Thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:16). But in the meantime, we need to be surround ourselves with those who share our same ideals. They will encourage us and we will in turn encourage them.
One of my favorite quotes is: “what is this life for if not to make life less difficult for one another.”
Endure to the end.
And help someone else along the way.