I was on a mountain bike riding with a friend along the Colorado trail many years ago. Thanksgiving was just around the corner and a recent frost turned the path into a bit of a challenge.
We peddled to the summit of a massive uphill climb and took a moment to catch our breath and rest.
The view was stunning. The shimmering yellow leaves of the Aspen trees contrasted brilliantly against the bluest sky.
The top of Kenosha Pass is a sight beyond words.
The path ahead dropped over 500 feet in elevation, so we were in for quite a ride.
I had just lost my Rottweiler, Jessie, who tragically died after a brief battle with cancer at the young age of seven. I had not begun my journey into animal communication, and I blamed myself for everything that happened to her.
All I could do was dwell on all the mistakes I made and how she might still be alive if I had only taken her to the clinic sooner.
Tears welled up as I looked up at the heavens. My heart was shattered and left me numb to the sharp winds that whipped around us. My riding buddy snapped me back to reality.
“Come on, let’s go,” she said, “It’s all downhill from here.”
“Okay, you first,” I said, as she had been on this trail before.
“There is a creek at the very bottom of the trail. Don’t fall in,” she warned, “If you look at the water game over. Keep your eyes on the horizon where you want to go.” She took off in a burst of speed and headed down the mountain.
I watched my friend zigzag down the steep trail at lightning speed and blaze right through the creek. She easily made it to the other side.
“Come on!” she yelled, “You can do it! Just don’t look down!” Her voice trailed off into the wind.
I pushed off, determined to make it across the water but instead of looking to where I wanted to go, my thoughts slipped back to all the mistakes I made while Jessie was alive.
About halfway down, the creek came into clear focus. Despite her warning, I locked my eyes on the swift-moving water swirling feverishly around the rocks and ice.
“Look at me! Look UP!” my friend screamed to no avail.
All I could do was look at the water and think about how I didn’t want to fall in. I felt drawn to it as if it were my punishment for my failures.
It was bitter cold, and I didn’t have a change of clothes, yet I felt myself lose hope. I gave in, and images of Jessie flooded my mind. I felt defeated and resigned that I was a horrible mom and caretaker for her.
My tires sped furiously downhill as I stared helplessly into the icy blackness of the water.
At the last second, I realized I wouldn’t reach the other side.
I crashed head over heels into the freezing water.
The journey through a loss is just like the icy creek. If you focus on the pain and the past, that is precisely where you will end up.
By looking ahead to where you want to go, you can move forward into healing. It will still be a bumpy ride, but at least you won’t have to finish your journey with frozen socks.
Your beloved companions love you more than anything.
They never judge you or question your decisions.
Only love matters.
Here’s to looking ahead to where you want to be….