- Books, Literature, and Writing
This time, Lord you gave me a Mountain!
About a month ago My (and probably yours too) friend Bill Holland issued a writing challenge, the challenge involved a few photos and a few simple rules (that I hope I stick to) and although Bill set a time frame for the challenge and I'm far too late for the prize (so sue me! lol!) I've been thinking of a story that I think people will enjoy.
Here's the story, simply called 'This time, Lord you gave me a Mountain!'
Mountains. problems or possiblities?
"Mountains are for gettin' over," Dave said as they looked at the imposing peak in the distance. "Just like problems, they're for getting over too!"
Trust you to come up with that!" Shelley was frustrated, "only an 'eternal optimist' like you can find the proverbial sodding silk purse in the sows ear!"
I can't help it" Dave protested, it's the way the good Lord made me, seeing opportunity when others think they're defeated,
"But do you always have to be so bloody positive?" She almost screamed, "I mean we're probably going to lose the house!"And can you do anything about that?" He came back, he had no idea why he was behaving this way, he knew their situation was critical, they were already behind on the mortgage payments, but his daughter needed someone to 'put the hard word in,'
Shelley and her husband Eric had some tough luck over the last year, first, she lost her job, then now recently Eric getting a cut in hours things were going to get worse. Shelley and her partner were about to lose their house and they were hurting, but if Dave knew one thing from his nearly seventy years on this terrestrial ball."If life's about to throw you a curve-ball, then you swing that bat for all you're worth and knock that 'sucker out the park'
One man's trash, another man's treasure!
Dave and his wife Cindy, Shelley's Mum lived lived 'out the back of beyond' in the Rockies, a choice they made a few years back when 'city life' was getting a bit too much and it was time for a major change before 'city life' took it's toll on them.
Once a 'big city lawyer' with all the trappings Dave seemed to have it all, but ten years before he got a 'wake-up' call that meant a huge change at least in the pace of life if nothing else.
It took the "trip we'd always promised ourselves" to convince Cindy, that and the sight of an old barn badly in need of restoration.
"Just think of the possibilities!" Dave had said as they first saw the old barn, even the old grain silo 'had potential' to become guest accommodation!
Selling up and moving was a 'no brainer' for them, and although it was a small heart attack and the supposed need to 'slow down' that drove the change, even that couldn't stop them.
"Once your dad gets it in his head" Cindy had told Shelley and Eric the first time they'd visited "Hell even a freight train couldn't pull him away from the idea!"
See the routes?
The whole family sat there as Shelley and Eric told their story, not that they needed to go into detail, Dave and Cindy knew most of it anyway, but there was something 'therapeutic' in the telling, almost as if they were seeing things for the first time. it was as if Shelley and Eric were seeing things for the first time as they sat there, and they needed some advice.
"So now I've been made redundant from the office, and Eric's hours at his job are cut back to the bare minimum." Shelley went on, "We're behind on the mortgage and that 'bloodsucking Bank is threatening foreclosure! Hell, they're the ones who showed me the sodding door!" she was almost weeping as she said it.
Everyone was silent for a moment as they allowed time for Shelley that time to recover, dave finally broke the silence. "Take a look at that mountain in the distance" he pointed to the snow-capped peak that'd persuaded them to buy the dilapidated barn and silo that they'd turned into the wonderful home that it now was.
"Pretty imposing isn't it!" Dave went on, "But you know something, there's a way to the top! you just need to find it"
"Dad" Shelley looked up, "are you even listening?" she asked, "We're about to lose the home, we're about to have the Bank take the home, how the hell are we going to explain that to the kids, you know, that we're homeless!"
"But there's a way forward" Cindy came back, "You just haven't noticed it yet!"
"Where?" Eric wanted to call her 'Mom' but it just didn't sound right, though Shelley's parents had been more a 'Mom and dad' to them than his parents ever had.
"Take a look for a moment" dave pointed to the mountain, "what do you see?"
"A whole lot of snow and ice!" Eric replied, "not a lot of anything else!"
"See the rock outcrop? and the ridge there" Dave pointed some features out, they're a way to the top! or over there, there's a valley that leads to a ravine and a slightly more gentle rise that leads out into the saddle, then you can reach the summit from there!"
"Just what are you getting at Dad?" Shelley was mystified but wanted to see where Dave was going with this thought, it was just like him to lead them this way to what he saw was the answer.
Massive loads maybe, taking away dreams, not a chance!
Even the trains give up trying to dissuade him!
I haven't failed ten thousand times! I found nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine ways that won't work!
And one way that will!— Thomas Eddison on the lightbulb
The real issue
"Let me ask you a question" Dave looked them both in the eye, "Just what are you scared of? is it failure?"
"Are you serious?" Eric was dumbfounded, "are you even listening? we're about to lose everything we've worked the last ten years for, and you ask what we're afraid of? it's of losing everything!"
"That's just it" Dave shot back almost as fast. "You're not losing a thing, least nothing that's important!"
"A house and a home aren't important?" Shelley didn't quite believe what she was hearing, this was the guy who'd worked sixteen hour days for decades, built a great law practice and almost lost a family in the process, and he was saying they weren't going to lose anything of importance!
"Remember when you were growing up Shelley?" Dave replied. "I was totally stupid, and it nearly cost us everything! Hell, even ten years ago I hadn't learned my lesson properly until I had the heart attack"
They stopped for a moment as Cindy had gone inside to make some iced tea, she was bringing the drinks back out along with some English muffins and butter for a snack. As soon as they'd received the drinks Dave continued. "You've got a chance to walk away from the mistakes I made, you've got a chance to 'jump the gun' and sell the house, pay off what you can and move on!"
"But we'll still owe the Bank money" Eric butted in, it'll be years before we can pay the mortgage off! We'll be dead and gone long before that!"
"So you think now." Dave replied, "But it's amazing how much things change from year to year, all you have to do is keep moving forward, and when one route hasn't worked, get back to 'base camp' and find another route!"
"We'll be dead and gone before the debt's paid"
"Listen" Dave spoke up after a suitable time had passed, "The only time that we ever fail at anything is when we give up on it! Okay, what you tried hasn't worked, but that doesn't mean there isn't another way to the 'summit' you just need to look for it".
They'd needed time to digest the information that he'd said to them, losing the house and the seeming dream of owning their own home wasn't the end of the world! Yes the dream would take longer, and there'd be long-term issues to deal with, but there is a way forward, and they needed to see it.
The road wasn't easy, and there were times when they wondered if they'd done the right thing but slowly over the days, weeks months and even the years things slowly changed and most of the changes were for the better.
How do you view life's challenges?
When I saw the challenge and the pictures the first thing I thought of was the Elvis Presley song "This time Lord, you gave me a Mountain!" and I just had to write something like this. Okay it;s not very 'polished' and as I said I'm way too late for any prizes but it was still a great exercise.
By the way, for me this is something special as a few years ago this is very similar to the things that we went through and guess what, there is 'life' on the other side, but sometimes we just can't see it until someone gives us that proverbial 'kick in the butt' and for us it actually was a lawyer who gave it to us, but that's another story.
Hope you enjoyed it