November 24, 2009


For as long as I can remember I have desired to increase the amount of control I have over what happens around me. Sometimes, not getting what I wanted hurt (like when my mom gave away our puppy when I was in 5th grade) and sometimes it wasn't so bad (like the time in high school when I tried out for the premier choir that all of my siblings belonged to and I didn't make it). Control for most of us encompasses our lives.

I had a whiplash injury at 19 that years later still left my back weak. At 23, I decided to do something about it and started working at a camp in Southern Utah. We hiked deliquent youth around in the desert and taught them basic survival skills (except we didn't have to find our own food). Staff worked 8 days and then got 6 days off. The teens never set foot indoors anywhere until they finished the program, 5-8 weeks later. Just try to imagine buildings, no cars, sleeping under a tarp, squatting over a latrine/hole in the ground.

The packs we carried weighed about 60 pounds. Mulitply that times hiking several miles per day and you may begin to understand the pain and soreness that was involved for me in choosing this job. In the beginning, it took all my energy just to endure and my mind was focused on just making it to the next water stop. With time and continued exercise, my muscles built up and my enduring turned to enjoyment.

This photo shows me and some of my boys during 3 Peak Week. We climbed three mountains and hiked 50 miles in 7 days. You'll notice the snow on the ground. It's not easy to hike with unsure footing and sinking into the trail. It took hours to reach the top. On this day, the weather changed in an instant. The boy in the middle was hit by lightening (it hit/burned the top of his ear and turned it a chalky white - he's dark skinned). We slid down that mountain in a matter of minutes. It's amazing how fast we come down when we realize how little control of a situation we have.

I found a love of the outdoors and the night sky in the valleys of the Wah Wah mountains. I found untapped reserves of physical and emotional energy that I didn't know existed. I learned to build fires with a stick and a bow. I got excited for the simple treaures like a hot shower and cheeseburger when my shift ended. I proved to myself that though I don't choose what happens to me, I can choose how I respond to my challenges.

Sometimes (well a lot of times), the loss of control over what happens to me sends me to my secret place. It's not really that secret. Jocelyn finds me easily enough. I "control" my surroundings by ignoring everything that I should be doing and focus on the insignificant.

Meanwhile, a little someone is taking control of her situation in life and reaching into new territory to get what she wants. At 13 months, Jocelyn can now open doors (thanks to our new house having lever style door handles). The boys couldn't open the round ones until they were closer to two.

Nothing is safe anymore. Now I'm going to have to organize my office space and go through my boxes of childhood possessions that have been neglected not only since we moved in a year ago, but actually since I moved away from home 10+ years ago. While I'm at it I should put in a load of dishes and sweep my kitchen floor and finish putting away the groceries I bought yesterday. And if I'm really feeling great, there is a laundry list of other things to be done. The real dilemna is finding the motivation to do the needed tasks that I don't really like doing.

In retrospect, that Three Peak Week was nothing compared to my current mountain. In a seminar I went to in Florida a couple of weeks ago, we learned that we only have three choices when something happens that we don't like.

1. Accept it.
2. Try to change it.
3. Leave.

I think I'll try to change my lack of motivation today by shutting down my computer. That ought to keep me focused on climbing.

2 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. Is she really already tall enough to reach the door handle?
    Wow… amazing. =]

  2. Don't bother with the organizing...Target has locks that work fabulously on lever doors. They are a little pricey for all of the doors, but we put one on our pantry door and it has been fabulous!


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