A motivation of love can seem ethereal. But I've experienced gritty, down to earth motivation of love.
I was scaling Mt. Hood's icy rock-covered face with a group from our church one day this past July. Men's Ministry had planned the excursion. My husband invited me and two of our sons to participate with the group. I was honestly not that interested. But my husband kept expressing his heart-felt desire for me to experience this with him. Now, I love a good hike in the mountains, but this was "extreme". We met hiking in the Austrian Alps in 1984, "way back when", so there was an emotional romantic pull of recapturing our young love adventure. We've been married for 33 years now so there's been a lot of life between our then and now. Out of my love for Norm, I decided to go on this adventure.
But here I was struggling to make forward headway. I was very fatigued and with each step my boots were slipping. I would take a step and slide, take a step and slide. My energy was draining away. Immediately one the guides (the amazing Climbers for Christ--I can't say enough about this wonderful team) was down on his knees helping me. It took several tries but he was able to get the crampons to work. He had to steady himself on the steep rock face, manage the load of his pack on his back, pull off his heavy gloves and get down on his knees in the snow to help me. I was so impressed with this team's kindness and helpfulness. I knew they wanted me to succeed and were doing all they could to make that happen. (That support and their kind manner were key to my success. See my previous Blog Post for more on the importance of this support.)
This pattern of discouragement and fatigue and then encouragement and the glimpse of hope to keep going, happened over and over again that day. There were sections where I was certain that this was it. I couldn't go on. But somehow after a short rest, I could keep going. And this sequence happened over and over. It was a miracle. (I am not exaggerating.)
I wanted to keep trying but it always seemed like an impossible task. The mountain so tall and so steep. The end seemed to never be in sight.
My husband stayed with me every step of the way. He had made that promise to me. He said he would stay with me, no matter what. And he kept that promise.
As I put my head down and concentrated on each step. I remembered my desire to love my husband by doing this adventure together. Each step: I. (step) Love. (step) You. (step) This was my pattern. I would step. And then say in my mind, "I love Norm." Step, "I love Norm."( There were also many steps where I said, "Please, help me, Lord!") But it was really the gritty, determination to express my love for my husband that kept me trying to go forward. One step at a time.
What motivates you? What could help you move forward in a place where you currently feel stuck or too tired to go on? In what way is love a motivation for you?