In life, we are given several moments, and in these moments, we are presented with opportunities to shine a light on possibilities. We have the ability to make these possibilities realities, and the only thing holding us back is our lack of belief in our capabilities and our lack of faith that if that light starts to dim and things aren’t going quite right, that He won’t help us turn that dimmer switch back up.
This past week, I challenged myself to do something I normally would not do without my husband. My oldest daughter and son were anxious to go camping for spring break. This is a feat I would normally immediately say no to when their father is absent, but this time, I sat on it for a little while and started thinking about how I could pull it off. In the end, I decided to move forward with planning a camping trip that would take us to Cottonwood, AZ, and Sedona and the Grand Canyon. As I planned it, I honestly thought that this had to be the stupidest idea I ever had, but I would push forward with it and create a plan B in case it didn’t work out. I made the breakfast and dinner meals ahead of time, and then froze them, so all I would have to do was warm them up and add corn tortillas to dinner. I made peanut butter sandwiches as back up food and for lunch and cut them into quarter pieces. I went through all the camping gear and made sure we had everything we needed. I got snacks and sandwich makings. I checked the weather and felt like I was as prepared as I could possibly get. We would be camping from Monday to Thursday morning.
Day 1 of camping had ups and downs. We were staying at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in AZ, and it was gorgeous. We were tent camping and were surrounded by a few trees and trails. We got the tent up and camp mostly organized and ready to go. We still had about an hour before we needed to start getting dinner ready, so we all embarked on a small journey over the other side of the hill from our campground. We discovered ruins in the distance and as we walked a little further, we found the Verde River running below us. We hiked down a little hill and wandered to the river, discovering a beautiful oasis that immediately reminded me of the book, Bridge to Terabithia. It was beautiful. We had dinner and then I decided to get the two youngest and myself showered. By the end of this ordeal, I was frustrated because my shoes and most of the clothes ended up wet. I then got the youngest to lay down, but sleep was far from their minds. I finally managed to get them to sleep, but only after I felt the stress and frustration pile on. This was the moment I needed more help. Normally, I would just suck it up, and bottle my frustration, which would lead me to releasing it later over something even more trivial. This time, after I sat for a little while at the campfire with my oldest, I took a walk to the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for bed myself. I looked at myself in the mirror and knew that I had to do something to get back to a good place in our adventure. On my walk back to camp, I did something I haven’t done in a really long time. I looked up at the stars and said, “God, I could really use your help on this one. I’m going to just roll with this and see what happens. Please give me the strength, patience, courage and knowledge to make this a memorable and fun trip.” I stared up at the stars for a little while longer and then went to sleep.
Light Bulb! I was trying so hard to stay on a schedule and make sure we were clean that I was the one causing unnecessary stress. Taking showers is pretty pointless when tent camping, especially if it’s only for a few days. We would smell like campfire and be covered in dirt no matter how many times we showered in a day. I resolved to just washing up and using deodorant as needed. Life was much better. I didn’t bother trying to get the little ones to sleep until dusk, no matter what time that happened to be because I knew that was a battle I would not win.
The rest of the trip was amazing. There were definite moments of exhaustion and loss of patience on my part, but they were brief. We got to hike in Sedona, visit the Grand Canyon, and even see an elk up close. There were some great memories made. I pulled it off with a little help from the kids and some help from God, and we did something I myself didn’t even think we were capable of doing. We can do most things we set our minds to, if only we try.
I have to say that one of the most positive things that has happened to me very recently is a rediscovery of my spirituality. I have deep beliefs, but I have not nurtured my spirituality in a very long time. I have just let it be there, acknowledging it when I do things out in nature, but never really pushing myself to do more to make it a greater part of my life. While talking to a friend, I was inspired to try to find a place, or something that would help me begin to bring that part of me back to the forefront. I believe I have found a place, and have become very grateful for my friend and the new community I have been introduced to. I stepped in feeling very uncomfortable and uncertain, but was amazed that as soon as the music started, I found the comfort and certainty I sought. I pray that we all continue to push ourselves to believe that we can turn on the light, and if it starts to fade, someone will be there to help us push that dimmer switch back up all the way.
Most importantly, I hope that we do not deny ourselves experiences, memories and opportunities simply because we don’t think we are capable. We have the power inside of ourselves to push the limits and turn any negative into a positive. The only thing that limits us is our own self-doubt.