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How to find your mountain

Do you believe in intentional coincidences? Do you believe that plans you make by accident could one day turn into a wonderful serendipity?

I do and always have, but today something happened that made me absolutely positive in my belief.

This story has intertwined throughout the years as I’ve watched my daughter grow up from 16, young and confused, to 21 and graduating college. This morning, I received this text from her:

“On my graduation cap, I think I’m going to write, “may your dreams be larger than mountains…” and then paint a mountain.”

This text took me back to the last few weeks of summer going into her senior year of high school. She had just returned from being a counselor at an 8-week overnight camp about 6 hours North of our home.

Since she had been on the varsity dance team all of high school and was finishing her final year as captain, she needed special permission to leave for the summer from her coach. She was allowed but had to promise she’d catch up on the dances right away when she returned.

Her first night home was full of surprises. The boyfriend she couldn’t wait to see broke up with her, and she was experiencing her first big heartbreak. I remember thinking that catching up on the dances might be a good way to keep her mind occupied.

The dance coach, however, was angry she had left for the summer and was not friendly upon her return. If you’ve had a child go through high school, you know how much pressure there can be.

Her sadness from the break-up mixed with the negative pressure to live up to this coach’s unrealistic demands was making her not want to do anything. She was feeling bad about herself, heartbroken, and beginning to feel a little lost.

She has always been a hard worker and senior year would be a critical year for her. I didn’t want her to begin it feeling this way. A few years before, I had a similar situation with my older daughter. I remembered taking her away from the situation helped her think clearly and make a quick mindset shift.

So, I made a quick decision to take her away as well. Luck was on my side, as I was able to purchase two flights to Arizona for the weekend. My sister lives there giving us a free place to stay.

It sounds crazy, but I thought that by climbing a mountain together, I could show her how small her little high school was and that this situation was just a moment in time. There was so much of life waiting for her.

Somehow looking out over the city from Camelback Mountain did just that.

We arrived Friday night and were on the base of the mountain by the next morning. There were some occasional tears on the way up, but as we reached the summit, we sat on a rock and looked at the small towns below.

We sat for a long time, and we talked about life and her future. I tried to explain again that this would all be behind her soon.

Somehow, from that point, everything did seem smaller. As she began to open up, her tears turned to laughter. From here everything looked different. She was starting to think clearly about what she wanted.

That day will forever stay in my mind as we agreed that the top of the mountain would be our meeting place every time life got out of hand.

In the next week, she quit the dance team and started her senior year with a new confidence for her future.

A year later, she was part of a charity ball where they honor students for their hours of community service and fund raising activities throughout high school. In the memory book put together for the occasion, I put this quote under her picture:

“May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.” Harley King

After graduation, she is starting her dream job in Denver, Colorado where she says the mountains have been calling her; an intentional coincidence and a wonderful serendipity.

Wherever you are, I hope you find your mountain…

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