Remarkable: worthy of being noticed as being uncommon or extraordinary
As you reflect on your past year, what word would you use to describe it?
With my initial impressions of 2017, I would have said my word was BLAH. The year seemed of little significance.
But as I took time to reflect more deeply, I noticed a mixture of emotions - some deeply joy filled, others equally filled with pain. With both happening at the same time often, they began to blend together into a mess of colors that appeared “gray” (dull and nondescript; without interest or character.)
It wasn’t until I intentionally traveled back through my year that the word REMARKABLEI began to come into focus. For a very long time, I have felt like I’ve been struggling to regain something of myself, working hard but never quite getting to an easier place. It’s really been like a long and arduous climb up a steep mountain.
I see myself coming to the summit of one of those mountains. I have passed the tree line and as I push upward, the sun begins to 'dawn' on me. I feel its warmth as I come out of the shadow of the mountain. My eyes are no longer looking out for the next foothold. I stand in awe- my breath is labored from the climb and yet caught by the beauty as I behold such an exquisite morning sunrise. I can see for great distances as more of the world opens around me.
Could it be that I really stand at the top of the world in this moment?
Could it be that all the painful effort of the last weeks, months, and years have brought me to this place? Have I really arrived at a mountain top space that fills me with joy?
Could it be that the struggles and challenges of my PAST are no longer baggage weighing me down?
The air is lighter up here. My heart feels lighter, as if it has been awakened to life and joy and love around me.
I stand on the edge of mountain rock feeling like I am me again for the first time in years. I can breathe again. I can feel the warm sun on my face and the cool breeze against my skin. No longer am I in the darkness of grief, or the rank smell of the damp mud I have trudged through.
I stand tall, free, unencumbered!
Arriving at my destination, I reflect on the intense uphill journey that has brought me here - a trek through perilous ridges and challenging peaks, tight crevices and dark tunnels. It has been hard on me. I am still feeling the pain of bruised and pulled muscles, still wiping blood from scraped knees and elbows. Some of these injuries will heal nicely. Others, I know, will leave me with permanent scars.
I glance back over my shoulder to look at all I've faced in the climb. I see rugged trails that left me bloodied and sore, but I also see small valleys that brought pleasure as I walked in green grass and tall, handsome evergreens. I had been so focused on the hard times, I had all but forgotten about them.
I see the ridges I thought were mountain tops only to discover they were just a small rise leading to an anotherpeak at even greater heights. I allowed myself to celebrate the accomplishment for only a moment before I moved onward and upward once more. Sometimes it felt like I had to retrace my steps to climb down one summit before I could undertake the next climb upward.
Parts of the trek are no longer visible from where I stand. They are valuable because they were part of the road that helped get me here. but I can't see them even in my memory. There are so many places that I barely recall, places where I was simply taking steps, not really thinking, but just keeping on the path.
Off in the distance, I get a glimpse of that dark opening where I emerged from the grief tunnel. I thought I would remember forever the fear and anguish of the tunnel; yet when I come up on a similar place in my path, I am struck at how much I have forgotten about that dark part of the journey.
For so long I felt trapped in that awful place, never dreaming I would ever see the top of this mountain… or any high place higher than I was at that moment. I desperately looked for any sliver of hope, flailing frantically in my search for a way of escape.
Slowly, as the eyes of my heart became accustomed to the darkness all around me, and I ceased the striving, I began to see...
- A quick glint of green here, as if a light was turned on behind mud covered glass
- A longer shine of green there in another place..
- I moved toward it, then spied another, brighter yet.
- When I moved toward it, there was another and another until...
I finally found myself breathing fresh air once again, standing outside of that horrible, yet familiar place I feared I would never leave.
Now, from the mountain’s top, I see no light coming from that opening now- only darkness. I wonder for the first time, "What was the source of that light that illuminated the green slivers of hope in that dark place?"
I had never thought much about it before. I just assumed it was God, chosing to reveal himself to me by showing his light in what felt like a God-forsaken space.
But now as my mind replays the character of that light, I realize that the light seemed to move as I moved. It only reflected on the next piece of green glass as I took the next step forward. If I stayed where I was, no other green sliver was seen. Only when I took my next step toward the glint of green that was before me, would the next one reveal itself.
Where did the light come from? Why did it seem to come along with me?
Could it be that the light was WITH me? Or perhaps IN me?
Could it be that during all that time in the darkness when I felt dead, when I felt as if the very life had been snuffed out of me, there was actually a bit of light left in me? An that it was the light in me that was reflected in the slivers of green?
Words of scripture I have grown to love throughout my life begin to surface in my mind.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. John 12:35
Yes! That light of the world - Christ in me - was my hope of glory? (Col 1:27))
My Journey in recent years has been mostly uphill - a long, hard road. But in these opening days of 2018, I am relieved and excited that I stand in a place of newness; a place of beginning- Again!
From my vantage point, I turn to consider what lies ahead in this New Year. I am not fooling myself into thinking that breathing in this mountain-top air means I have arrived. There is much more for me to as long as I have breath to do it.
I am simply re-awakened to the joys of being “me” once again. I am keenly aware of the pain of the past, but I feel alive, free of the chains that tied me to it.
I'm breathing fresh air.
I'm feeling strength that comes from having overcome and courage to face whatever the future holds.
Do I still know fear? Sure, I do! Life can throw a lot at us - things that can cause us to fall over and over again.
But the journey to this mountain place has taught me that the LIGHT- Christ in Me - will go with me, no matter how dark, how long, or how treacherous the journey might be.
His light in me makes me worthy of being noticed as being uncommon or extraordinary.
That my friends, is REMARKABLE!
NOTE TO YOU DEAR READER:
- What’s your remarkable story?
- Need help asking the questions to identify what last year taught you?
- Or perhaps a coach would be beneficial for your best next steps in the New Year.
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