Life is full of long, complicated journeys. Sometimes it may seem like too much to handle.
This past week, I hiked from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee with my husband. We traversed the country in three days, carrying heavy packs on our back with everything we needed to be completely self-sufficient.
We were careful about the weight, attempting to take only the items that we really, truly needed. But after all of our packing, the bags weighed 25 and 35 pounds.
Putting them on for the first time was almost comical. Could we possibly hike all out for three days with this weight on our backs? Could we travel 28 kilometers on day two, climbing a kilometer into the sky, all while carrying these heavy loads? Could we pull through on the last day, after spending two nights sleeping on thin mats? Surely, we would be too tired to lift anything by then.
Being an eternal optimist, my immediate response to that questions was this: If someone else did it, of course I can do it too!
A day later, we were hiking down a beautiful riverbed, thick with vines and greenery that reminded me of an Amazon Forest stream. Our bodies were soaked in sweat.
“You know,” said my husband, ”Backpacking is a really great metaphor for life.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” he answered, “When I put this pack on my back, I felt like there was no way I was going to be able to hike 75 kilometers of tough terrain while carrying it. So instead I figured…maybe not. But let me just take the next few steps.”
We made it through those 75 kilometers, backpacks and contents intact. Every time we hoisted up our packs, it was a challenge. But we didn’t focus on the difficulties of the next day or the day after. We just focused on our journey, one step at a time. It was one of the most incredible experiences of our lives.
Life is always presenting us with challenges and goals, some so great that they seem almost impossible to accomplish. Before you talk yourself out of a task that seems insurmountable, just remember: every great journey is a series of small steps. All you have to do is take the next one.