Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11
I had noticed the Arkansas sweatshirt earlier when we were exploring Pompeii and made the obvious comment, “So, you’re a Razorback?” I asked the young woman. “Yes, she is,” her mom replied, “and we’re from Arkansas.” Diane then proceeded to expound on the athletic prowess of her two daughters, as would any proud mother. And then they blended into the crowd.
Pompeii continues to impress, particularly after the recent eruptions of Kilauea in Hawaii and Volcán De Fuego in Guatemala. I’d studied vulcanology in university and so was interested in the archeological site, but the opportunity to hike to the top of Vesuvius was especially interesting. I didn’t realize how challenging the incline would be.
We’d been warned that the first part of the climb would be hard. And I’d forgotten that my respiratory system hadn’t completely recovered from my last illness. My two grandchildren and I started the hike together, but the farther we climbed, the harder it was for me to keep up—and breathing became even more difficult.
That’s where Diane, my new friend from Arkansas, came in. Coming up from behind, Diane called out to the grands, “You go on up. I’ll climb with your grandmother.” I knew the two youngsters were like racehorses, ready to bolt, but they were hesitant to leave my side. “Go,” Diane urged, “I’ll stay with her.”
And so we climbed, Diane and I. We hiked a few yards, and when she’d see me struggling, she’d suggest we stop and rest. Then we gained a few more yards and stopped. She never suggested that I give up and go back down. Instead, we inched our way up—almost to the top—when we saw those two Razorbacks come running down. They saw me and said, “You’re almost there. You can do it.” And with their mom, those girls who had run up the mountain encouraged me to keep going.
We made it, the four of us. And at the top, I joined my grandchildren. And I saw the caldera and the steam making its way through the cracks in Vesuvius’ massive crater. I had made it to the top of Vesuvius.
Could I have done it alone? Probably, but not likely. It was hard. My breathing was labored; my heart was pounding . But Diane climbed with me; she stopped and waited with me; she encouraged me. She didn’t demean me. She made the journey interesting and carried on a vibrant conversation as we ascended. She acted as if climbing steep mountains with struggling people was something she did every day.
And that’s what I think we’re all called to do. People struggle all around us. Almost everyone is involved in some sort of conflict. We’re all in a battle that we can’t win alone. As the Church, it should be our normal, everyday activity to look around and cheerfully say, “I’ll walk with you. I’ll encourage you in this challenge. I’ll rest with you. I’ll stay with you.” And then we just do it…until we’re no longer needed. And if we’re the ones needing help, we need to humbly acknowledge the fact and reach out.
As we were loading up the bus for our return to Rome, I made a point of seeking out Diane. “I couldn’t have made it without you,” I said…and meant it.
Father, thank you for bringing into our lives those saints with hearts of love and compassion. Make me to be one of them. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
6 thoughts on “MAKING IT”
Thanks so much. We all need each other.
Thank you, Karin. I need all the help I can get.
Thanks Marthe for all your messages. We are in Mayhill, N.M. near Cloudcroft in a wonderful campground surrounded by mountains and flowing streams near by. While not climbing a mountain, I have been taking two friends around who have handi-caps. I have had to be very patient for many days now because Godhas blessed me with good health and energy. I am thankful for my friends and that I have been able to help them have fun. Mostly, I am thankful because God is always reminding me of Him and of his blessings!! Will be home soon and would love another week here! Hope you are having a great summer. Know Camp Curry has been fun and successful! I have thought so much about Edith on this trip. She taught me long ago about camping with people and this has been a most interesting trip to say the least! Too much to write about but there have been 4 families, 5 counting us. Three of the couples have stress in their relationships and makes me so thankful for Allen. I can certainly stress him out but I have had so much wonderful teaching from you and Edith and I continue on asking God to help me do His will and be patient! Much love!Carol
Yes. God is faithful.
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