id you hear about the person who crossed Antarctica?”
My children turn to hear the details. They’re accustomed to my habit of sharing random, interesting tidbits.
Briefly, I relate the basic facts. A man, Colin O’Brady, crossed Antarctica all alone, pulling a sled of supplies. He was disconnected from civilization for almost two months, endured freezing cold temperatures, and subsisted on minimal amounts of food.
Something about O’Brady’s journey captivated me. I’m not sure if it was his stunning photographs or his savvy social media skills. Maybe it was the exuberance with which he shared details of his solo journey across Antarctica?
Take a look at his Day 46 post:
GRAVITY. I feel like I’m flying!... I covered my furthest distance of the expedition, 25.5 miles...almost a marathon! Remember week three when I was getting crushed by the deep snow and only moving 10-11 miles every day? That was brutal, but I kept imagining a day like today would eventually come, so I kept getting out of my tent each morning and showing up.
I believe this is often the case with any big goal. There are so many challenges along the way, and in those moments it’s so easy to want to quit. However, it’s in those moments when we need to strengthen our resolve, knowing that one day all the challenge and turmoil of battling the metaphorical deep snow will pay off. No matter what you are currently working on, remember one day the deep snow will give way to firm ground, and then you’ll feel like you are flying, and it will all be worth it.
I raise O’Brady’s ideas with my kids, and we discuss the concept of pushing ourselves beyond our limits. My husband shifts the conversation to explore the single-minded focus necessary to accomplish big goals and brings examples of Torah personalities who didn’t allow any distractions to stop them from learning.
On Thursday, as I process the potatoes for kugel and put up the cholent, I think about my own journey through icy mountains. Now, I was “flying.” At the moment, things are going relatively smoothly with the kids, and my energy levels are pretty high. It feels so nice to be gliding along.
But even as the sinking sun spreads fiery colors outside my kitchen window, and I watch each uneventful day end, I know that the past still burns inside me.
There were days when lugging myself up snowy mountains seemed impossible. Days when my journey through piles of laundry, sinks of dishes, and demanding children overwhelmed me. Days when the challenge of breathing through painful moments dragged me down. Yet with resolve mirroring Colin O’Brady’s determination to cross Antarctica, I weathered the storms, put one foot in front of another, and focused on my goal of doing the best I could.
Then I see these lines O’Brady wrote while still on the ice waiting to return home.
This journey has cracked me open to my core and nearly broken me many times. In overcoming these challenges, I’m bringing home with me some of life’s greatest lessons.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 633)
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