Our third child, Ryan, recently turned 13. And for some reason, he had the crazy idea of cycling from Tokyo to the foot of Mount Fuji and then hike up to the summit. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It was his passage into becoming a man and my passage of officially realizing that I’m old.
Biking 110 kilometers through several hills and a couple of mountains was not fun. I had to ask myself, “Why am I doing this again?”
This question came up again as we were hiking up to the summit of Mt. Fuji (3,776 m). We would stop and rest. And when we would, I would end up literally asleep for a few moments. When I would wake up, I would literally think I was in a bad dream… a nightmare, actually.
Because we had a lot of time to think and talk, we came up with a few life lessons along the way. Allow me to share them with you.
1. When you fall, just pick yourself up and move on.
At the summit, the winds were strong. They were as strong as 50 kph. Everyone had to stay low and duck many times as the strong winds would come by.
Walking was even a challenge. So there were times we would be swept by the wind and fall. We can choose to stay on the ground or just pick ourselves up and continue. We continued.
Life’s like that. We get hit and fall. The choice is ours. Will we stay knocked out or pick ourselves up and keep moving forward?
2. Don’t miss on what is happening now because you’re in a hurry to see what will happen next.
Life offers too many beautiful events and experiences. When we are in such a hurry, we miss out on the lessons, messages and the simple joys life has to offer.
3. Preparing is hard work but being ill-prepared is harder.
We trained. We prepared. We got ready.
I read up on a lot of those that did what we did.
But somehow, we weren’t as prepared for what we were going to go through. And boy it was tough.
Preparation is hard work. But it’s harder if we are ill-prepared.
4. Keep your eye on the goal.
We will be discouraged, exhausted and tempted to quit. But as we keep our eyes on the goal, we will eventually get there – one step at a time.
Keeping your eyes on the goal will keep you from quitting.
5. Trust the GPS.
As we cycled from Tokyo to Fuji, I had my Google maps on. I would tell Ryan to turn left when we needed to or turn right as necessary. But there were times he had his earphones on and we would miss a turn because he couldn’t hear me say “turn left.”
God knows which way is the best. He knows the GPS well because He planned it. But because we have too many voices in our ears, we get distracted. Thus, we miss our turn and end up in a place where we didn’t want to be in.
But thank God that, by His grace, He is able to cause all things to work together for our good. As we listen to His voice, He reroutes and gets us back on track.
6. We will face uphill challenges along the way, but in the end, it’s all worth it.
This was what we were trying to convince ourselves about the whole time we were trekking for a total of 8 hours to the summit.
“This will be worth it.”
And it was
The view of the sun rising from the summit was more than amazing.
Life will throw us a few curveballs and get us through uphill climbs. But if we are convinced that this is where God has placed us this season, then when we get to our destination, we will realize that it was all worth it.
7. Don’t just look forward to the destination; enjoy the journey as well.
We so badly wanted to reach the summit that we didn’t even talk to each other. Our legs were hurting and our eyes were shutting due to lack of sleep.
But managing to chat, interact, reminisce, and reflect on these lessons also became a highlight in the end.
To watch snippets of our adventure, I’ve posted 2 videos below of our bike trip and our hike up to the summit of Mt. Fuji.
VIDEO 1: CYCLING FROM TOKYO TO MT. FUJI
VIDEO 2: HIKING TO MT. FUJI SUMMIT