When I came to the mountains, he was gone. I looked everywhere but I couldn't see him anywhere.
My eyes followed the narrow trail up and over the mountains. Then I saw him, so small and yet so tall. He was almost to the top. He was pulling himself up with his hands and pushing with his feet. It seemed like hard work, like dedicated work. Yet he made it. He made it to the top and then disappeared on the other side.
I had to follow, but he had such a head start. Then I noticed another way. Oh, it wasn't the way, but it looked shorter and quicker. Why, this way went down between the mountains and it looked as if it met the road in the valley far below. I knew I could make it.
Without further hesitation I left the road and tried it my way.
I can hardly describe the ease with which I bounded between the mountains and literally flew into the valley beyond. Why it was easy. So very easy. And when I reached the valley and reached the road I was ecstatic with joy. But it was the wrong valley and the wrong road.
The road which I had found went only 30 feet in either direction. I couldn't see that it was a dead end from up above and I was too thrilled with my ease of descent to even notice as I ran into the valley. The wrong valley.
And I was lost. There was nothing around me to guide me in any direction. I had tried it my way and I found a dead end. I had only one choice. And that was to turn around. So I did.
The great wide road which I had used to descend into the Valley of Desolation was gone. In its place was a narrow and rocky road. A hard road, a road that was filled with self-pity and blame.
Why did I blow it? Why didn't I follow the old man over the mountain? Why did I go wrong and fail? Why did I try it my way? Why? Why?
I didn't know the answer but I did know what to do. I had to go back up that road. I was sorry. And I was wrong and the only way to correct that wrong was to admit it and get back on the narrow way.
As soon as I had admitted that I was wrong and started back, the road opened up. The hard part was in my mind. Admitting that I blew it, but not dwelling on that fact -- not staying in the valley but turning around and climbing out of my desolation -- by simply confessing it, my guilt was gone. My feet literally flew up the passageway and once again I found myself safe and secure on the solid ground.
Now there was only the mountain left to climb. So I did.
The climb itself wasn't nearly as bad as I expected it to be. Actually, I felt as if there were wings on my feet that lifted me each step of the way. The only important thing was to keep one's eyes on the goal. To keep moving toward the top. One step at a time, without looking back but always going forward.
When I reached the top I caught my first glimpse of the great stadium and I knew that it was worth it. I really knew it.