Life is a constant battle. If you aren’t climbing up one mountain, with steep ridges, rocks, landslides, and the occasional mountain goat, you’re falling down the other side, landing on every sharp edge, bouncing and crashing your way down, taking a lot of dirt with you. When you get to the bottom, all beat up, exhausted and broken, it’s time to climb back up again.
Why is life like that? Isn’t there something better than a constant pain and excruciatingly hard work?
I’m climbing up that mountain. My legs are like rubber, I’m thirsty, and in need of a restful sleep. The journey, so far has been tough. I’ve had to brave through a lot of rough terrain. There were the steps that I thought were safe, only to find out I couldn’t trust them, as they fell beneath my feet. There were the roots shooting up from the ground, presenting themselves as safe to grab hold of for support as I pulled myself higher, only to rip themselves from the earth and make me stumble. There were rabid animals in pursuit of my happiness, stealing my breath as I run to get away from them. I was beat. Looking up the mountain, there was so much farther to climb.
I honestly didn’t know if I could make it any farther, but I knew the way down would be nearly as bad as the way up, so I kept going. It was hard, but I made it to the top, past the treeline, where all I could see were rolling hills and trees for miles. The colors of fall shone so brightly that day. I was on top of the world. Was this what life was meant to look like? So beautiful, liberating, and refreshing? I take a deep breath and my lung caves in. I look down at my legs and arms, beat up, scratched, bruised, cut, bleeding, and infected. There is no hope in the world. Life isn’t beautiful. Earth is beautiful. Life is a mess, my life is a mess, and nothing good could ever come of it.
With my spirit crushed, I make my way down the other side of the mountain. It becomes darker as the trees begin to cover my sunlight. I’m getting cold. This is the way my life goes. Beauty only exists outside of my being and I had to come to terms with that. I can’t feel my legs anymore. I’m beginning to stumble, slip, trip, and fall. I step on a rock wrong, fall, and roll twenty feet down the hill, landing on thorns, nettles, and sharp rocks as I go. I lay on the ground, eyes closed tight, wishing I could die right there, beneath the trees, among the dirt and water puddles. I muster up enough strength to open my eyes and I turn my head to the side. I find a tiny, but strong sapling, sprouting from the ground. The ray of sunlight is hitting it just right and the rain from the night before is helping it grow. Something in the little sapling makes me remember how awe-inspiring looking out at the range was. Someday, with the right conditions, that little sapling will grow into a large pine, towering over the other trees.
I am the sapling. Right now, I am weak. Any force of nature that could destroy the sapling could destroy me as well. But the conditions this sapling had would make it grow big and strong. And someday, years and years down the road, when I climbed that mountain again, I’d remember how small that tree was. I needed the right conditions, too. Sure, I was beat up, bruised, and broken, but I’d heal stronger than I was before. The journey
I had been on had taken me captive and clouded my spirit.
All I needed was that sapling. It showed me just how beautiful earth is and beautiful I can be. All I needed was the right people around me and opportunities presented to me to help me grow strong. Being a sapling is hard work. Other plants try to take your nutrients and are often successful. Being a human being is hard work. Other people try to take away your happiness, your opportunities, your health, and your mind. Many of these people are successful, too. However, they don’t need to be. No one can steal your happiness because it’s yours. You are in control of who you become and the attitudes you hold. If that sapling relied on other trees to get his nutrients for him, he’d be one very dead little tree. If you rely on others to produce your happiness, you won’t find that you’re happy. If you find that you’re trying to suckle happiness from others, please know you can be much happier.
Life is beautiful. You are beautiful. Every individual who meets a beautiful person has the opportunity to become beautiful. You choose your own path in life. The injuries will fade, scars may be left behind, but the battle was worth it when you see how much stronger you became because of it. It may take a while. It might take a lifetime, but I hope you wake up each morning feeling good about who you are. You can change a lot throughout the day, just as the sky its changes colors. But you will always wake up to a new beginning, a new start, a new opportunity to be beautiful and make others around you feel beautiful, too.
“Beauty is vain. Saying that I am beautiful is wrong. I shouldn’t be able to brag about myself like that.” No, my darlings, beauty is not vain. Beauty is lovely. Be beautiful. Be yourself. Love yourself. Don’t let the world tell you who you must be and the ways that you can feel about yourself. It is not the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the job you work that make you beautiful. Your spirit, your laughter, the joy you find in the small things in life, the silence in your head, the chaos in your heart…that’s what makes you beautiful.
The view from the mountainside became much more lovely. Suddenly, every tree had life, every flower had purpose, every rock helped hold up the soil around it, which in turn, held up the entire mountainside. Everything worked together in harmony to create life and beauty. That is was we should be. When we find our beauty, together, we can move mountains. We can support a growing world. We can become leaders of tomorrow. We can be one unit with many different moving parts, all functioning as a whole.
Life is messy. Life is dirty. Life is chaotic. But life is a beautiful chaos and I hope you find your beauty.