Sunday, November 1, 2009

Moving mountains

This weekend was stake conference. Thousands of Latter-day Saints congregated in three different buildings to hear our local leaders - some via some pretty sweet WebCam technology. (Or something.)

Friday was the adult session. Baby-sitters were scarce (and we were lazy.) My Man won the toss-up and off he went, prepared to take scrupulous notes.

One of the stories he brought home touched me deeply.

The speaker: Mervyn B. Arnold of the Seventy. The time: his "younger years." The place: Mt. Timpanogos.

He and his wife had decided to hike this 11000 foot monstrosity.

They began.

As they huffed and puffed up the mountain, it got colder. They saw couples ahead of them turn around. "We'll come back when it's warmer," they said.

In many places, it was muddy and hard to find footing. More couples turned around. "We'll come back when the ground is more firm," they said.

The ascent became steeper. The climb harder. They stopped to rest, observing still more hikers on the trail headed home. "We'll come back when we're in better shape," they said.

Towards the top - so close, so agonizingly close - there was snow. In many places the freezing cold fluff was halfway up their shins, oozing down their boots to ice their tired feet. More people stopped. "We'll come back when there isn't any snow," they said.

The Arnolds were now alone. They looked at each other. They were tired. They were cold. But they had made a promise that they would climb to the top of Mt. Timp. Together. And they were going to keep their promise.

When they reached the summit - embracing and alone - they marveled at the view that God's hand alone could paint. They wept. And they vowed to each other, once more, that they would never stop climbing.

Each of us begins marriage with a promise. A promise to love each other forever. But too many fall back when it gets hard. When jobs are lost. When beauty fades. When character traits annoy or honeymoon passion is lost. When others look more interesting or disagreements become too often. "It got too hard," they say. "I only agreed to the easy stuff."

I am so, so glad for a hiking companion who sticks by my side. Through mud and steep inclines, through snow and rough terrain.

We made a promise.

And we're sticking to it.

images here and here

26 comments:

Kazzy said...

Very sweet! And here's to wonderful hiking companions. :)

Rocketgirl said...

ZI totally get that story - I hiked Timp in July once and it had all those darn rocks and mud and snow, I think it took me 10 hours round trip. What a fabulous analogy for marriage! And we had our stake conference this weekend - adult session on SATURDAY!!!! Who does that??? We barely filled one chapel the next day too - ahhhh, to live in the mission field...;)

Deb said...

We had our adult session on Saturday, too.

I love the story, a great analogy for marriage.

Michelle said...

THANK YOU for posting that story...It was something I needed a reminder of. Thank you.

Lara said...

This was a really amazing analogy. Something we can all be reminded of often! Thanks for sharing.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I love you. Not like your hiking companion, but still.

Such a good reminder, thank you.

Fig said...

I yike it.

(And I'm secretly glad my climb is still easy. I'm a waster.)

Annette Lyon said...

What breaks my heart is seeing one companion willing to keep hiking and pushing when the other doesn't.

Great analogy, though. Thanks.

Harmony said...

Aw!! I hope Your Man saw this post.

Mrs. M said...

Hiking Timp is darn hard, at least, it was when I did it. I've never considered it as an analogy for marriage, but I like it. Thanks!

Happy Mom said...

Amen!!!

Kimberly said...

I am so sending a link to this to my husband. We've had quite the steep climb this last few months and I'm so grateful for how he's kept me going.

Beautiful. I'm in tears. Thank you so much for sharing this.

janae said...

WOA. That was GOOD. I'm not one for mushy stuff on blogs, generally I prefer to get that at church/the temple/etc. But every once in a while something gets me. THIS was one of those somethings. WOW.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. I really, really needed the reminder.

Rachel Sue said...

I'm with Anette. It's hard to see one person still climbing and doing their best to carry the other one, even though the other one wants to turn back.

Great analogy.

Mommadj5 said...

I know this might sound really trite, but I couldn't help but think of Hannah Montana's song "The Climb" - it fit's the analogy well (more for life than marriage - but still works!) and it is actually a really good song. Check it out if you haven't heard it. And I agree with Annette - it's tough when one partner either quits or finds "another path" on the mountain and the other still wants "to climb". How long do you stand and wait for them or do you continue the climb by yourself?

DeNae said...

I grew up down the street from Merv Arnold. His whole family was pretty cool, and his mother's name was Jasmine, which I thought was the most exotic name I'd ever heard. It was, too.

And I'm with you. I've got a hiking buddy who has spent most of the last 25 years dragging me up the trail. I'm the luckiest gal on the mountain!!

Square Root of Family said...

Great post and it was a great talk (I got to be there for it!).
I have a close friend who almost gave up the climb in his relationship a year ago...couldn't see how anything could possibly resolve itself. Now, a year later, the marriage is happy once again (after a long and painful year). The lesson I learned from this is one I learned from a great trainer on working with families in distress--
"Don't ever make major life decisions in a time of crisis." We can never think clearly enough when crisis is going on, whether that crisis involves physical or mental illness, being plain worn out, financial troubles, or pain caused by wrongdoing. Sometimes, especially during times of crisis, partners have nothing in the tank left to give one another. Save the big decisions for when things settle down and are more normal. Otherwise, they often end up being things you wouldn't have decided in retrospect.

Sweating in the endless heat said...

AWESOME!!!!! Very well put:-)

JustRandi said...

LOVE This!

Love love love it!

mckell said...

Mmmm. Good stuff.

Katy said...

He was an excellent speaker. I could have listened to him for hours!

MommyJ said...

I love this. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

Riddle Girl said...

It always takes that "ONE" post that makes me come out of my blog stalking shell. And this one did it! Thank you for sharing. I have seen too many of my neighbors recently giving up on their "hike". This is such a great reminder to keep pushing along.

(I have been reading since you were still in Brazil...I have enjoyed the journey!) Maybe I'll comment more now!

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

You now have written four of my favorite all time blog posts- Fabulous insight and parable shared-Thanks!

Shellie said...

Me too! That's what convinced me to marry my man, his commitment no matter how psycho I turned out to be.