The week after my freshman year of college, my first love broke my heart. He ripped it out, used it as target practice, and urinated on the tiny fragments of my innocence.
So I agreed to an overnight camping adventure with my childhood friends. Tears were shed, alcohol was consumed, and a battle of the sexes resulted in toilet paper and Pop-Tarts being burned beyond recognition. I needed to remember how to laugh again.
Most vivid, however, was my endless night in a poorly pitched tent. I tossed. I turned. Despite my best efforts, I could not escape a jagged rock beneath the nylon.
Yet, somehow, I found healing in the midst of my life’s first mental crisis. And – just before sunrise – the mountains closed their arms around me.
You are home.
They say if you love something, let it go. In June 2012, I traded the Blue Ridge for Silicon Valley. Sure there would be mountains, but they weren’t the ones that knew how to deliver me. And now – in the land I call home – Earth is even flatter.
Perhaps it was Hurricane Hermine or the start of the semester, but this weekend I needed nature. The weather was favorable, and I held high hopes for family togetherness outdoors.
Only, I didn’t remember that this is the Deep South. Our “walk in the woods” turned out to be anything but rejuvenating.
[Insert mosquitoes, gnats, and unrelenting sand flies here]
It all felt like defeat until I saw my son race past the stroller to remove a bulky limb from the path.
“Daddy, I like this hike!”
Sometimes we face mountains, and sometimes life calls us to create our own – those places that remind us that our strength has a place in this world.
Although our children may never live among breathtaking views, I pray they will find that even sharp edges can bring comfort – that our mistakes don’t define who we are.
For, still, the sun will rise.