There is a mountain near my house that I love to climb.
Reaching its peak and breathing in its 360-degree views is a deeply nourishing and embodied experience that always reminds me of who I am and why I’m alive.
The walk to the top doesn’t take long assuming I maintain a consistent pace and don’t stop along the way.
The first time I walked this mountain was an all-around struggle.
I went alone. I didn’t know the terrain. I didn’t take any supplies. My footwear wasn’t suitable. My feet hurt and I got blisters. And then it rained!
Moreover, I kept getting distracted by meandering paths that quite literally led nowhere or worse still, had me back where I started!
By the time I reached the top, I was wet, tired, hungry and bleeding.
But the view was spectacular! And I fell in love with that mountain.
Was my suffering instrumental in helping me reach the top?
Of course not. My suffering was nothing more than a byproduct of my unpreparedness.
Had I sought guidance beforehand and equipped myself accordingly, my suffering would have been less. Perhaps even non-existent.
What my suffering did do, however, was give me the opportunity to know the worst that mountain had to offer.
Only by experiencing the worst, could I know its best.
Only by walking all the wrong paths, could I find my way to the top.