Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 31: Look How Far We've Come

If you've been reading this blog for very long, you probably know the story. But as we come to the end of this series, it seems appropriate to tell it again.

There I am.  Limping up the Great Wall of China. Living my dream.  

Arriving at the Great Wall that day, our guide said, "There are two ways up. One is steeper, but the view is better." Without a pause, both Mike and I said, "We'll take the hard way."

At that point our guide smiled and said, "I'll be waiting for you, right here at the bottom. Take as long as you like." She, obviously, had been there before.

Off we went. . .with our seven year old, newly adopted son. . . the little wild man who didn't speak English.

Off we went. Up a very steep, never ending staircase.

Off we went -- and then, off they went as Mike and Wenxin quickly left me behind. I knew it would be hard, but this was ridiculous. I couldn't breathe. My legs wanted to stop working. Eventually, I began taking sit-down breaks; I took one about every twenty steps.

Wenxin kept calling for me. He was fine -- fine enough to keep running up and then back down to check on me and then back up again. A leathery old Chinese man chuckled and explained in Chinese, "Mama lei le." Translation: "Mama's tired." Then, Wenxin snapped the best photo of the day -- me --putting one foot in front of the other, almost slain by the Great Wall of China.

In the end, I didn't die, and I got a photo that will make me smile for the rest of my life. It was totally worth it.

Looking at that photo again today, I noticed something I hadn't seen before. Even though, I didn't get as far as I wanted, and even though I was literally dragging my aching body up each step at that point, look how far I'd come. We started out way down there at the bottom. Look how far we'd come.

When I think about our family's journey it's a lot like that trek up the Great Wall. Mike and I are quick to say, "We'll take the hard way," when we think it's worth it. Then we end up doing crazy things like homeschooling or adopting an older child, even though we're getting older ourselves.

Today, I reminded myself, to peek back over my shoulder and look how far we've come.

The hard way's usually worth it -- if it doesn't kill you.

It's been an honor to have so many new readers join me for this series. I'm looking forward to the day when you look over your own shoulder and are surprised at how far you've come. Remember, I'm cheering for you!

To read the whole series, start here!


  1. It has been a privilege to watch your journey - thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. I love your heart for the older child!

  2. So funny. Same thing happened to us. I actually voted for the easy way but my family won out. I only made it as far as that tower in the left lower corner of your picture. Earlier in the day I had (stupidly) worn clogs to the Forbidden City and twisted my ankle (certainly I tore a ton of ligaments) on the cobblestones. By the afternoon and our tour of the Wall, my foot was (in sneakers now) but the size of a small watermelon...I am not sure there was ever a more painful hike up those very stairs for me...and disappointment to not join my family at the too!!

    1. Oh Julie. I feel your pain -- literally. It was brutal. Oh well, probably makes a better story this way. : )

  3. This post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!


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