By Lindsey Feldpausch
Pregnant and a few weeks away from my due date, I found myself in front of our computer, binge watching documentaries on Mount Everest.
I know this sounds ridiculous and, well, it is. When we women are pregnant and uncomfortable at night, we sometimes do strange things. Anybody?
I don’t know where this fascination with Mount Everest started. Perhaps it was the intensity and unpredictability of it all. Perhaps it was because mountain climbing was a foreign sport- a mysterious world I knew nothing about. Perhaps it was because the Mount Everest movies were the only non-scandalous and free documentaries that Netflix was offering at the time. Either way, I was hooked.
I assured my husband that I did not desire to climb Mt. Everest. I just wanted to know about it, and I couldn’t pinpoint why.
I learned a lot of things about Mt. Everest. Some things I’ve forgotten, but there is one thing I have carried with me ever since.
You are never back where you started.
This is the thing about Mt. Everest: You can’t climb it in one clean trek from the base of the mountain to the summit. If you were to start at the bottom and go straight to the top, you most likely would die. Why? Your lungs can’t handle it.
You have to acclimatize.
Everyone climbs the mountain a little different based on their level of expertise, advice from guides and weather patterns. In all the climbs I witnessed, the path to the summit included several pushes up and down the mountain.
The air at the summit of Mt. Everest contains only a third of the oxygen of that at sea level. In order to successfully make it to the top, you have to stay a while at base camp and progressively climb higher and higher on the mountain. Then, once you’ve made it all the way up to camp 3 and stay for a while, you go all the way back to the bottom.
That’s the part right there that gets me. You are closer than you’ve ever been to the top of the world! You could climb right from there to the top, reach your goal, take a selfie and go home. Except they don’t do that. They descend to the base camp.
Geographically, you are indeed back where you started, but you personally, are not where you started.
Your lungs are stronger.
No matter where the climbers are on the mountain, as long as they stay on the mountain, their lungs are getting stronger. They can make a lot of progress or make a little. The longer they are on the mountain, the stronger their lungs are growing. They are acclimatizing.
Why is this so good to remember?
There will be things in your life that you try and fail, try and fail, try and fail. You will take a look around and think you are back where you started, but I promise, you are not where you started.
Maybe you don’t specifically have stronger lungs. You might have a stronger heart, stronger mind, or a stronger will. The part of you that’s stronger is unseen. No one else taking a look at you could know the mountain that you’ve been working on for all this time, but let me tell you girl, stay on the mountain.
Stay in the fight.
Don’t give up the climb.
Keep showing up.
Keep doing the thing.
Don’t judge your progress by where you are on the mountain, but by the fact that you are still there. Perhaps you’ve thought about letting go- just forgetting whatever climb you’re on, but you haven’t. You are still there.
And that’s something.
Now I know what all those late nights with Netflix were about. It was to remind me that no matter how many times you climb or fall, something beyond your understanding is going on behind the scenes.
If you climb, keep going and if you fall, get back up, and if you find yourself back where started, remember: Your lungs are stronger. Stay on the mountain. You are not where you started.
Lindsey Feldpausch is a creative writer, graphic design enthusiast, social media coordinator, and sinner saved by grace who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her worship leader/youth pastor husband and four delightful kiddos fill life with unbelievably amusing quotes and sweet snuggles. She thinks God is awesome and that the best adventure starts with saying yes to that still, small voice. Follow Lindsey on Facebook.