Life is meant to be lived one moment at a time. But we forget and plunge ahead and lose perspective. Read on as Really Blog Manager Carla Foote, puts us back on pace.
The Plodding Climb
By Carla Foote
Plodding up the steep hill gave me time to think. Mostly I focused on breathing, taking the next step, and hoping that I was getting closer to the top. It was a hike I'd done before, so I knew that the first half mile was steep and hard, but that soon I would emerge onto the flat mesa top with views all around. Still, I always feel slow and plodding on this incline (pictured above, about 1/3 of the way up).
Part way up the hill, as I continued breathing and taking the next step, my plodding pace gave me time to ponder my steps. It was December 30. The end of a year and the end of a decade. But as I reflected back and also wondered about the year and decade ahead, my plodding pace reminded me that I don't live life a decade at a time, or even a year at a time. Life is a step at a time. One foot in front of the other. There isn't any other way through a year. We take each step before us today, then we take the next, and the next.
I was actually on this hike because a year ago I had set an intention - to hike all of the parks in the foothill county near my home. And as the year ended, I was hiking #25 of 26. (The 26th hike wasn't possible this year for a variety of reasons.) If I had not set that intention and planned my schedule throughout each week and month to make time for hiking, I probably would not have been making this climb on December 30th.
The intention helped propel me forward. But the hikes didn't happen 10 at a time, or even 1 at a time. They happened one step after another, on and on and on. The steps added up to miles. One hike, then another, then another, then 25.
The day after my hike and my thoughts about moving through life one plodding step at a time, I read an insightful piece where the author advocated for making goals for a week and re-setting each Saturday.* While he didn't mention any faith component, it made me think about sabbath and the pattern that God set forth for his people. A day to rest and re-set at the end of each week.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. Exodus 20:8-10.
The pattern of sabbath after a week of work provides a natural flow to our days and a space to re-set each week.
On a smaller level, the pattern of each day can propel us forward with a fresh start and a next step. We are reminded in Lamentations that God's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). We don't even have to wait a week for a fresh start, God greets us each morning with a new day.
I don't know what hill there will be for me to climb in the next 10 years or even 1 year. I do have intentions and goals as I look ahead. But I know that I only get there one step at a time. I can get up today and take the step that is before me, and the next, and the next. While each step seems small, they add up over time.
We are a few weeks into the new year and new decade now. Did you have some intentions that you set on January 1? Did focusing on the whole year seem overwhelming? What is one step you can take today, just one?
Carla Foote is the blog manager for Really, and also writes and edits for other clients through Fine Print Editorial. She appreciates taking breaks from her desk to hike, walk, and garden in Colorado. The photo at the left is the view from the top of North Table Mountain, Golden, Colorado.
*Colin Fleming, "Don't Wait a Year to Make Resolutions", Wall Street Journal, 12/31/19.