Have you ever felt like you could not go on and that it was all you could do to take one more step? Some of you are thinking, “I’m there right now!” I get it. I’ve been there.
I was recently encouraged by the story of Kyle Maynard. Kyle was born with a rare condition known as quadruple congenital amputation. What this means is that while he was still in his mother’s womb, fibrous bands prevented the development of his limbs. All of his limbs end before the start of his knees and elbows.
Through the encouragement of his family, Kyle didn’t let his disability slow him down. As a youth, he played football, wrestled, and was awarded the title of GNC’s Worlds Strongest Teen by bench pressing 23 repetitions of 240 pounds.
As an adult, Kyle continues to inspire others. After training and conditioning at different climbing sites around the United States, he set out with a group to climb Mount Kilimanjaro! On Friday, January 6, 2012, Kyle embarked on this new adventure. In ten days time, he crawled the 19,340 feet to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and became the first quadruple amputee to reach the top without assistance!
Kyle shared that with having to crawl the entire way, climbing really was not fun for about 95% of the time. He spent most of the time “looking at rocks, dirt and bugs. And after 14,000 feet, there are no bugs.” In those moments where he felt like he could go no further, Kyle would pause and look back at where he had been.
It is easy to get bogged down in the day to day. Each day you may feel like you are climbing your own Mount Kilimanjaro. The effort it takes to just keep moving forward is momentous. The needs of your child may be so great that it is consuming all of your focus.
If this is where you are, I want to encourage you to stop and look back at where you have been. The clouds may have surrounded you and it may be hard to see right now, but there is beauty in the journey and you’ve come a long way.
Jonathan McGuire is the father of two sons and the co-founder of Hope Anew, a nonprofit that comes alongside the parents of children impacted by disability on a spiritual and emotional level. You can follow Hope Anew on Facebook here.