Last night Julia invited me to go see the movie 17 Miracles with her and her family, and it was one of the most amazing movies I have ever seen. It was about the Willie and Martin handcart companies, and it was a true story. You need to see it- and I'm not kidding. It put things into perspective just a little bit more: I have nothing to complain about. My trials are so much smaller than their huge ones, and they are true heroes for what they did. Watch it. You will cry your eyes out.
I was also grateful that I had the opportunity to go on Trek before seeing this movie, because it put things into perspective just a little bit more. The trek was herd, most definitely, but it was all so worth it in the end, and I would go again in a heartbeat. I realize I haven't told my own story, so I'll do so here.
Trek 2011~ my story.
(before and after)
The day before I left, my daddy gave me a blessing, and in it he said that I would have the physical strength and stamina to finish this trek. I didn't realize then just how much that would come into play during the next couple of days.
Then the first day arrived. Oddly enough, it was the first few minutes that scared my the most, because I didn't know what was ahead for me. About 45 minutes in, we picked our first trial experience- losing a limb. So we tied up someone's arm, and went on our way. Further still we came upon another trial- having our Ma push the handcart alone, with the Pa riding on top. That was one of the hardest parts for me, because we weren't allowed to help at all, and watching her struggle was so difficult to do. Soon afterward was the womenfolk's pull. I was prepared for something steep and difficult, but it wasn't. In fact, it was the easiest part of the Trek, having the boys gone. But we didn't tell them that. :^)
That night, after a long and exhausting day, we set up camp and had a dance. You'd think that after all those miles we'd be tuckered out, but we were as full of energy as ever! That night was one of the coldest I've spent. No one got much sleep at all, and everything was frozen the next day. I could feel some blisters coming on, so I put moleskin on, hoping to prevent any discomfort, because today we would face Rocky Ridge.
We got to the hill, and we had to team up with another family in order to push it all the way up. My blisters were getting extremely bad, and I couldn't breathe. I pulled with all I had in me, and all the while I was thinking "I just can't do this. I'm not going to make it." I prayed so hard during that, and the next cart we had to push, I had to give up. That hurt so bad, watching my family push without me, but my feet were beyond painful, and I had given my all. I cried a little, not being able to help and having that guilt swallow me up. I knew that I had done all I could, and that somehow I had earned a rest, but bad thoughts swirled around in my head. "You're lazy and weak," the voices said, "and you're letting everyone down. You are a horrible person." I knew then that these weren't my thoughts, and I prayed even harder for help. The guilt and sorrow washed away, replaced by a feeling of new strength. I could make this through, and I wasn't useless.
We finally made it into camp, and we set up our bedding for the night. I took off my shoes to rest my feet a little, and to inspect my blisters. To my surprise, they were the largest things I had ever seen, and they hurt to even touch lightly. My Ma and Pa took one look at them and decided I needed to see the camp doctor. They said I shouldn't walk over there, and they put me into the handcart. I felt bad again, because my brothers had to carry me over after all they'd done that day. But this was my time of need, and they were willing. When I got to the doctors, the verdict was the fluid would have to be syringed out. The relief was immediate, and I could walk again. The rest of the day was spent playing games, and washing our hair, and we attended a very inspiring fireside about preparing for the Temple. Then we separated back into wards and had a testimony meeting. It was a great experience, and then we went to bed.
I met the next morning early, refreshed and ready to walk the last few miles. We each received a letter from our parents, and my daddy wrote down the lyrics to our family song. That was just the boost I needed, and I sang it while we walked. We only walked three miles that day, and it felt so light and easy after all we'd been through, but it brought a twinge of sadness with it. This was the end. I was done trekking, and our journey was through. When we finally reached Zion, a shout of joy rang throughout the company, and we raced to get our things unpacked. We got into the car, and we all fell asleep.
We reached home, and I was embraced warmly despite my smell. I told of my adventures, then enjoyed a really long shower. I had finished my trek.
This week, I recieved a letter from my Ma and Pa:
It was such a joy to get to know you on the trek. You are such a remarkable young lady. We appreciate your suggestion of praying when things got rough, and we are amazed that you never complained about those huge blisters! You are truly an example of pioneer strength!