Struggle

Legend has it that there was this young
child, who lost his legs below the knees,
when a bolder came rolling down from the
mountain behind his home, and ended up
on top of him crushing his legs.

To calm the young boy, his mother would
tell him that some day he would climb to
the top of that mountain.

One day, as a young man, he decided to
climb the mountain on his stumps.

Some distance up the mountain his stumps
started to bleed, so he wrapped rags he
found along the way, around each one.

Winter hit. He found an abandoned shed,
and spent the winter writing about weather.

Spring arrived. He continued his climb. To
preserve his stumps he found a goat and
road it, until the goat gave out and died.
He buried the goat, put up a marker saying,
“here lies a good goat”.

Climbing further up the mountain on hands
and stumps, his hands began to bleed, so
he tore pieces of cloth from his coat
and wrapped his hands with them.

Winter set in once again. He found
a cave, gathered wood, created a
small fire and passed his idle time
using a sharp edged rock, along with
dirt and spit to scratch drawings onto
the cave’s walls of all he had seen
climbing up the mountain.

Another spring arrived.

He started to climb the mountain once again,
but his hands gave out from the strenuous
work from his work etching. To give them a
rest, he used his elbows to slowly drag himself
up the rocky ledges of the mountain.

One day he paused and looked up, squinting
through the hot summer rays, to determine
how much further he had to climb. To the
best of his guess he still had seventy to eighty
percent more to go.

Winter began to set in again. He spotted a clump
of grass in a small plain, crawled toward it, began
to eat it, and within minutes lost consciousness.

He woke up, and asked if he was in heaven or hell.
Neither was the reply. “You’re in a rescue tent we
set up. Climbers found you lying in a patch of
weeds and requested our help.”

“They gave us directions: pass the newly built
weather forecast station, then keep climbing
until you pass Good Goat Ridge, keep climbing
until you reach Cave Art Point, then keep climbing
until you reach an open plain full of scrub brush.”

He was told he had survived the coldest winter
on record. But, unfortunately, the rescue team
had to amputate his left leg up to the hip, and
his left arm up to the shoulder. Gangrene had
set in.

“What’s your name?” he was asked. “Ben
Struggling,” he replied. “Where do you live
Ben?” “I’d rather not say.” “Well, what do
you want us to do with you? Take you
down?”

“Leave me here.” “Ben, no one lives
here. No on has come this far. You have
no limbs. Only a right stump, and a very
weakened right arm.”

“We’ll leave you this tent. And some cans
of food.”

Ben Struggling rehabilitated his body, and
began his climb once again. It was slower
this time.

He reached a ledge, stretched his quivering
right arm out to a small protruding rock
jetting out from the mountain wall and
grabbed hold. He swung his right stump
up onto another higher ledge, pulled his
torso up, and found a spot to sit on.

He lay back, resting his head on a small
rough surface, looked up at the swirling
clouds, took a deep breath, and for the
first time broke out into a smile. His coat
was in tatters, but his joy overcame the
biting cold chill.

At that moment, he shouted out to the image
of his mother he saw in his mind. “You were
right, I survived the loss of my legs,I’m climbing
this high mountain.” His joy broke out into
uncontrollable happiness. He laughed loudly.

At that moment, a gust of wind blew across
the ledge and took Ben Struggling’s weary torso
to the very edge of the mountain.

His right hand grabbed for a smell crevice.
His fingers digging deeply into the sharp
edge of the crevice’s side, cutting painfully
into his fingers.

The wind abated, and Ben stabilized his body,
his fingers spurting blood. He took
off his shirt and as best he could wrapped his hand
tightly. But not tightly enough to stop the blood
from flowing.

Ben Struggling felt consciousness leaving him.
Slowly the shirt filled with blood and slipped off
Ben Struggling’s hand. Right then the wind came
with force again. The shirt flattened out on the side
of a bolder and stayed there.

But Ben Struggling’s body rolled with the force
of the wind and was carried off the side of the
mountain

Climbers, far below, viewed a strange object
flying through the air, at one moment having
the shape of a boomerang, at another the look
of what it was: a frail, bony, emaciated torso.
Then it just seemed to fly apart until nothing
more of it could be viewed by the naked eye.

Future climbers marveled at the beautiful view
from the ledge of the spot on the mountain
where nothing remained but the outline of a
blood stained shirt now called: The View from
Superman’s Cape.

Meanwhile Ben Struggling crawled to the
entrance of a gate

“What’s beyond the gate?”, he asked.

“Heaven” is the reply from the gatekeeper.

“What’s your name stranger?”

“Ben Struggling.”

“Is that your full name?”

“No, it’s Benjamin Frederick Struggling”.

“Come in, Benjamin Fredrick Struggling.”

As Ben did, to his surprise, he viewed
the rest of the mountain he had yet to climb.

As new climbers found their way up the never
before reached portion of the mountain, they
reported hearing what sounded like a faint
stump hitting the side of the cliff above their
heads.

“It sounds like the stump is struggling to reach
each new elevation,” they said. For many years
climbers were known to have used the sound of
it as a guidance system.

The first climbers who finally reached the
top of the mountain christened it, Angel’s
Stump.

And so you see, it is the struggle that counts
whether here or there. It is the struggle that
forever determines the quality of the soul.

It’s not the march down the mountain that
produces the will in us to complete a task,
but the struggle in climbing the mountain that
allows our wills to gain power to conquer what’s
hard in the everyday struggles of life.

And the struggle goes on century after century,
person after person.