When I was a teenager, my mom and I used to head up American Fork Canyon every morning to hike the trail to Timpanogos Cave. Some of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life occurred on the face of that mountain. It was there I learned to listen to my Father in Heaven (I’d always been very good at talking AT Him).
These early morning adventures are among my most treasured memories with my mother. However, one experience stands high above the rest.
I may have a stronger build than Mom, but boy does that woman have endurance. She can go and go and go and go and go. But when you’re 16 years old, you’re supposed to be faster, stronger, and more fit than your old lady mom. I was none of the above. And it was INFURIATING.
On this particular day, I was determined not to finish in her shadow. As we approached the final stretch of the trail, 3 steep switchbacks (by far the steepest of the entire climb), I opened the throttle. I literally sprinted the remaining distance to the top of the mountain.
But the sense of accomplishment very quickly gave way to absolute terror. I reached for my throat, desperately gasping for air.
I panicked. I began to feel dizzy. Thankfully, I was coherent enough to lower myself to the ground in order to avoid falling over the edge. The harder I tried to gasp for breath, the more frantic I became. I could not breathe. I was horrified, certain I was going to die. A few other hikers had gathered around, but that detail is foggy. I don’t remember what they said, if anything, or what they did, if anything. I just remember them being there, and I remember sensing their sincere concern for me. The next thing I clearly remember was my mom trotting up over the top of the trail. The moment she saw me, she rushed to my side.
All she did was place her hand on my back.
Immediately, I took a long, deep breath. And another, and another. . .
I was safe. My mom was there.
For the last year and a half I have been heavily involved in The Making Things Happen Intensive. This is work I believe in. It is rich and fulfilling. It has made me a better person in every way.
And . . . it’s time to say goodbye.
As much as I love this work, the girls (Gina, Lara, Em) and the remarkable alum, the reality is this: God has been knocking on my heart for some time now, and just like I learned during those mornings on the trail, all those years ago, I need to remember to listen.
(Yes, I’m licking my son’s face. Believe me, the punk had it coming.)
As it relates to my professional life, this may be a big, bad business decision (and by “may be” I mean “most certainly is”).
Yes, I am afraid. There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty ahead. But I am absolutely certain that I am being called home, and I am thus absolutely certain that I will NEVER live to regret this decision. . . as difficult as it has been to make.
As much as I hate saying “goodbye” to something I love so very, very much, I am also saying “hello.” I’m saying “hello” to something I love even more.
Clearly the last 5 years haven’t exactly been easy on my family. It’s important to remember that not only did my boys lose their brother, they also lost their uncle. . . who had lived with (or very near) them for the entirety of their lives. Their sense of loss has been tremendous, beyond anything I could have ever imagined would be our reality. They still struggle daily from the remnants of this devastation. . . and though I firmly believe that they will eventually heal, I also believe that they will continue to struggle for some time to come.
They need me. Here. To wrap my arms around them and echo my mother before me.
“You’re safe. Mommy is here.”
All photos in this post courtesy of G.
PS- I love you Lara, Gina and Emily. Your response to all of this has been nothing less than as gracious and supportive as everything I have come to expect from each of you. You are remarkable. Exceptional. The best friends I ever could have dreamed up in my very wildest of imaginings. I’ll always, ALWAYS, be your biggest supporter and your number one fan.
PPS- All, happiest of Mother’s Days, by the way.