If there’s something I have learned over the last five years since my college days, it is that REAL Life is hard. I know it’s true because of the clever ways we as human beings try and evade and or escape such a reality. I do it with video games, comic books, and distractions of general geekery – yes, sometimes adventures with the FENX is that needed distraction. Others vie for the same sort of escapism by way of choices and substances that are magnitudes more destructive. Many of us escape though movies (guilty – Neverending Story, anyone, anyone). Who hasn’t felt like Bastian, Alex Rogan, or Luke Skywalker at some point in their life? Sometimes life throws us huge curveballs, challenges we didn’t see coming (that’s no moon…). One could argue that my entire existence has been exactly that for my family.

I’ve spent a lot of the last five years (since college at Cedarville University) walking in various valleys amidst some pretty high and steep mountains. While those mountains have been fewer, the freshness and clarity upon the apex is a marvel unto its own. I’ve trudged though tough trenches of pain and veered though dark vortexes of confusion, wondering if and when difficult aspects of my life will change or cease all-together (they haven’t yet). Aside from facing the pain, discomfort, and difficult head-on and try and bend it to the might of will power and tenacity (fueled by Christ in me, the hope of Glory – this is the banner we raise – I know no other way) the toughest part of any trial is to face it alone.

Humanly speaking, in terms of another individual being able to understand the trial while never experiencing it themselves or something like it, some things must be faced alone because those around you cannot comprehend it (and don’t want to). Yes, Christ is always present, but sometimes we need Him to work though what we can see and experience with the senses. Conversely though, there are rare instances where others do understand enough (or care about you as an individual enough) that they are willing to step into the trench or vortex alongside and trudge with you through the mire. I am blessed with these rare friends, friends who trudge with me, who are in the midst of their own trails and I trudge with them. We trudge through darkness, fear, confusion, uncertainty, and yes, pain (of every sort). We trudge because we care, we trudge because we’re family, and we trudge because often no-one else is willing because of fear. Trudging is dirty because real life is messy. Trudging is dangerous because there are many unknowns and you don’t know where the route will take you (oh the wisdom of Wizards and Hobbits); and fear is pervasive, the killer of the mind. In the end though, after all the muck, mire, sweat, tears, and blood – looking out together as one (hopefully) stronger and wiser for the danger overcome – we’ll scale the next mountain together, and all those after, until we lay eyes upon the country beyond the edge of the world (and a regal mouse will come to greet us – tail and all – for balance of course).

Riding Towards Eternity,

Aaron

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