by Jason Bond
Cruising down a narrow winding path to the bottom of a newly-conquered mountain can be one of the most rewarding experiences. One Lynchburg summer day, with my adrenaline pumping and heart pounding, I found myself dodging low lying branches and boulders that seem to keep jutting out in front of me. I wondered when I could brake and suddenly I take a spill and it hurts. But that’s when I got back on my bike and finished the ride. That was how I felt the other day when I was out mountain biking on Candler’s Mountain across from Liberty’s residential campus.
As I reached the bottom of the trail and stopped, I looked back and saw I had just biked a mountain completely covered in trees and rocks which tried to prevent me from achieving my goal. Realizing I had just dominated a 1,300 foot mountain etched with trails twisting and turning through narrow cut brush and along forty foot drop offs, I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment. This was one of the most difficult rides that I had ever completed and I realize that it was worth the pain for that last adrenaline-pumping surge to the bottom.
Biking up that trail was initially one of the most tiresome and annoying things I had ever done. In the end, I understood it was truly worth it to put myself through the pain and hardship in order to enjoy the final ride down. Not just for the sense of accomplishment, or even the workout, for that matter. But just being practical, if I didn’t get back on my bike after I fell I would be stuck in the middle of the forest, on the top of that mountain.
This experience relates to life in a lot of ways. School is another one of the mountains I have climbed. Starting as freshmen or as a grad student is like a new mountain that seems like it will to take so long to climb. For me, school has involved starting and stopping many times because I have run out of money, a class not being offered when I needed it, and even my work getting in the way of taking a class.
The thing is, once you reach the top and work through those last two classes to finish the degree, graduation is the next day. You know you have done it. Unless, of course, the professor does not post the grade for two weeks, then sometimes you may wonder if you’ll ever see the end. This happened when I took Philosophy 201; I would say this was the bane of my existence for sixteen weeks. Trudging through the course readings, papers, and exams I literally never thought it would end and that I had failed the class. After waiting the full two weeks, the grades finally posted and I saw that I didn’t fail. I got a C and this was a pleasant surprise.
We live in a fallen world and often there are bumps in the road, but when we get up and keep going it builds character. All I have to say is life’s a journey, so enjoy the ride!