Thursday, October 25, 2007

We All Need "Yes, You Can" Friends

A first effort at hiking part of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina taught me an important lesson about the value of the "Yes, you can!" people in our lives. In preparation for this 7 day trip, I enrolled in cardio boot camp and strength conditioning classes at my local rec center. My (young) fitness instructor's favorite motivational expression was "Yes, you can!" We heard it over and over as we perspired, and groaned, and pushed ourselves to exhaustion. The day I left to go to North Carolina to begin my hike, one of the class members gave me a card. The envelope read "Save for some time when you think you can't go on."

Despite a fall that sent me to the emergency room and a one-day rest , I didn't open the card; I thought things could always get worse. So, I saved the card until the last day when we left the trail to come home. It was a beautiful handmade card with a design that said "Yes, You Can!" The inside was signed by the class, many of whom had written inspirational thoughts. Why, oh why did I save that source of encouragement when I could have savored it and used it countless times along the trail? Why are we so stubbornly resistant to help?

Each of us has special people in our lives who believe in us, even when our goals and efforts seem off center to others. We need to hear their voices shouting "Yes, you can!" in our heads as our own doubts and less than helpful comments from others threaten to derail us. Cling to those treasures. Count on them to be on your side as you plan your next challenge, and your next, and your next. Challenges lead to rewards like the view at sunrise from the Fontana Dam Shelter in North Carolina.