This I Believe

Tracy - Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Entered on February 5, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Storms …. rolling thunder, crashing, filling the earth with such intense sound, your heart feels like it will burst before it all stops. Waiting ….. waiting for the sun to peak through the clouds. At last it does, relief and joy fill the vast expanse of dread that only a short time ago filled your being.

I believe that storms are part of life but they eventually move on replaced with sunshine.

My husband’s life has taught me this lesson in a personal manner. As a young man, he was an avid runner and mountain climber. Obsession was his middle name. Every spare moment, he was in the Rocky Mountains running and hiking. At times he would climb three peaks in a single weekend.

Tragedy struck as he neared the age of 30. For some unknown reason, he began experiencing extreme pain in his feet. The man who could once run up 9,000 feet could barely walk around the block. Traveling from doctor to doctor, no solution came forth. Hope turned to despair. It seemed as though the storm would last forever. Living within the tempest, I discovered the incredible person my husband is.

No matter how intense his pain level, he would not give up. One weekend he made a plan to climb a peak he had always wanted to conquer. It was considered one of the more challenging climbs in Colorado – one most mountaineers did not take lightly. How on earth could he endure the agony of such a feat?

Arriving at the base of Crestone Needle, the climb began. I tried desperately not to notice the grimace on my companion’s face with each excruciating stride. Determination set in, and we ascended upward. About 500 feet from the top, the storm was about to reach its climax. I turned to see tears flowing from the eyes of the man I loved. I knew we had reached the end. I begged him to allow me to carry him on my back. A shake of his head showed me this moment was not going to defeat him. The crux of the climb was awaiting us. Proceeding on I prayed there would be a way to help this determined man reach his goal. Turning around, I witnessed an incredible sight. He was climbing going backwards. It took the pressure off the parts of his feet that held the most pain. Inch by inch facing down the crest, he proceeded toward the sunshine at the summit. Many highly experienced climbers could barely handle this section of the ascent with hands and feet reaching upward. To climb backwards was unheard of. Would this agony ever end? My heart pounded knowing the storm was about to pass. Finally, the long awaited sunshine came into our lives as we reached the pinnacle. Looking into his eyes, I saw peace and joy. Although the physical pain was still with us, the internal sun was within. Storms are part of life, but with each storm there is always the promise and hope of sun.