So, I am wondering, too–where does this lead?
This trail, this path. It goes up and down, up and down, up and down. Through valleys and up and over the mountain. Again and again and again. There’s a beginning and an end. The piece you see here? Its closing in on the end, but not quite yet there. Of course, “the end” is relative. There’s nothing stopping a person from taking a detour, following a connecting trail, or just doing a 180 degree turn and retracing their steps. And you can always stop, right here. Or another 100 miles ahead. Or you could have stopped midway on the trail and just stayed put, wherever you stopped.
I don’t like to stop. I think this particular path looks very inviting. Some who have experiencing walking the path will tell you it is atypical and deceptive–the trail is never this smooth and never this flat. But a path like this–smooth, even grade, no rocks–this doesn’t say, “Stop! Turn around!” to me. No, this says, “Go a little further. See what’s ahead, around the corner. Maybe, whatever it is will be even better.”
Hope. It moves us forward. It promises us. Nothing in particular. It just makes a promise that if we keep going, if we move forward, there will be more paths like this. Maybe not all the paths, but some of them. Some of them will be easy, feel good, and we’ll master them. We will glide across them like there’s smooth sailing from here on out. And then the trail, it changes. It becomes rocky and steep. And it takes you the better part of a day to climb. And you sweat. Oh, the sweat. You don’t even want to rest for fear you won’t be able to start again. Up, up, up. Hand over fist, it becomes so steep. You glance up. And you cannot yet see the top. So you continue, because now turning around and going down is out of the question. There’s no choice. Just keep climbing. Keep going up. You have to have hope. There’s no other choice, you must have hope.
Hope is the only way to finish the climb.