Today, I was able to take a bike ride up a very steep hill. When I don't have time, I tend to ride the road, but today I had a little extra time. The climb is difficult but not impossible and the grade, because it's a causeway, is only about 7%. There is a trail that climbs alongside the road, weaving back and forth and is much steeper at times, and has many rocks, roots, and trees in the way. There is no straight path, however reaching the top gives you a great sense of accomplishment, as well as a heck of a workout.
It's always so amazing to reach the top and to know you "conquered it" as silly as that may sound.
Today, while climbing the difficult rocky terrain, I got to the point where my breathing became very labored and I knew I was running out of energy. Having ridden this many times in the past, I knew the end of the trail was about one mile further, but I just felt I couldn't continue and needed a rest. I spotted a little tree, standing next to the trail with little green leaves sticking out the sides.... a sapling, and maybe 3 inches thick. I knew it was enough to support me, so I slowed down and stuck my arm out to lean on the tree.
The sapling broke and fell to the ground and I nearly fell with it, having to pedal very hard to stay upright. When I stopped to look at the tree, the roots weren't very deep, and the tree was clearly dying, even with the green leaves on the trunk.
Thus began a small lesson and victory for me today: Even though the tree wasn't literally the enemy, it occurred to me that the path is life and the top is our destiny, but we're always saying it's too hard, and we just need to lean on something. We slow down or stop and grab that little tree, only to be fooled by its lack of sturdiness... and it's dead inside.
When climbing up your hills, don't stop until you get to the end. The only truth is at the top. Everything else is a distraction and a lie.