My husband recently attempted to climb Mt. Rainier, the largest glaciated mountain in the lower 48 states. Mt. Rainier is used as a training ground to climb the BIG mountains (Everest, K2, etc.) but that is not why my dearest wanted to do it.
Instead, he wanted to test his physical limits.
He trained for 6 months. Weekends were spent hiking hills in a park near our home, wearing a backpack weighted with bags of rice and water. Parking garages became our new home, as he trudged up and down the stairs for hours. He received strange looks at the gym as he used the stair climber (with backpack, of course) for hours.
All of this to prepare him for the summit of Mt. Rainier.
He was ready. He was fit. He was excited and nervous about the prospect. He controlled everything he could to make the summit attempt successful. Unfortunately, there was one factor he could not control.
Because of its location just off the Pacific Coast, Mt. Rainier is subject to variable weather patterns. One day, it can be gloriously clear and within less then an hour, turn stormy. Predicting the weather for a summit attempt is always dicey.
Unfortunately, for my husband and his group, the dice rolled against them. As they were traversing Disappointment Cleaver (a particular nasty stretch of boulders that has turned away many a climber, hence the name) at 2:00 a.m., a storm rose suddenly, without warning. Lightening lit up the sky and hail rained down on them. The unanimous decision was to turn around and make it back to camp, which they made safely.
I have had so many people ask me, “Wasn’t he disappointed that he didn’t make the summit?” My answer is always the same. “You can only change yourself. Everything else is out of your control. He became a mountain climber and was fit enough to make it to the summit. The fact that he didn’t was totally out of his control.”
And that, my friends, is the lesson. Accept yourself, do your part, then release the rest. And it applies to all the mountains that you may face (whether a mass of stone and ice or one that remains inside of you).