Yesterday I went hiking. Friends of ours invited me to go with them to the part of the Appalachian Trail that skirts through Pennsylvania. The terrain is rocky, and the beginning of the trek is uphill for at least two miles. Yesterday the sky was a pretty blue and the sun was shining, and there wasn’t any real heat or humidity. It was a perfect day for it.
During the uphill climb, I thought about the past two years. I often get so frustrated by the slow pace of my divorce and break up. I have watched as other couples decided to end their relationships and they quickly move out, move on. Some are even married within the year. It has taken me years to go from wanting the divorce to actually obtaining it, and we are still around each other almost everyday. My main goal through this process was to help our boys maintain as much normalcy as possible, but sometimes I feel like I am exactly where I started two years ago: trying to explain, cajole, convince and work in the direction of moving on. My friend said that if I wanted to achieve this balance, it would be like trying to turn an ocean liner. She was absolutely right. This has been nothing short of a slow and laborious process that often leaves me feeling overwhelmed and wondering if I have gained any ground at all.
As I was walking through the last little bit of the trail, I was astounded by the amount of fallen trees. The winds from the hurricane that moved up the coast the other day created quite a bit of damage, and there were multiple upturned roots to prove it. I stopped for a moment to tie my shoe, and during my pause I turned to my right. Growing within a fissure of a large slab of rock was a tall oak tree. Many, many years ago a small seedling must have started between the cracked surface and slowly grew to take its place. If the tree had grown too large, too quickly, the rock would have split further and slid off of the side, taking the tree with it. But instead it grew at just the right pace so that the rock and it could live symbiotically. The roots have so intertwined with the rock that it had nothing to fear from the massive storm that ripped through here the other day. The reality of this dawned on me as we finished up our day in the woods. If you move along at a natural pace, but not pushing too much or too hard, you may be able to achieve the perfect balance.