Some journeys are mental and some are physical. In Tolkien’s The Hobbit
, Bilbo Baggins starts out as a mediocre hobbit who is reluctant to take any adventures, and scared to death of doing anything unexpected or out-of-the-ordinary. When Gandalf nudges him out of the door, Bilbo visits elves in Rivendell, tricks Smeagol to gain a ring, and battles the dragon Smaug, becoming the hero of magnificent stories that a hobbit would never dream or even want to be a part of. For all this, he truly lived, but at some points it cost him mentally, emotionally, and physically more than he would have wanted to give.
There are hills here in New Zealand. And I am from flat Texas. Thus far, I have journeyed up every hill that has had the guts to get in front of me. I hope to continue to build up the strength and endurance to conquer any others that dare to get in my way.
Yesterday, we went to Devonport in the north part of Auckland. We got up, got ready, met a friend at her house in central Auckland, then took a ferry across until we reached our destination. Then we played at the playground, the beach, then we climbed a very large hill called Mount Victoria, and came down to ride the ferry back. The hills back up from the bay were also very large, but we made it to the car and I was tired with little legs like jell-o. All of this was worth the climb, and here are some pictures from Devonport.
Auckland City from the ferry
Devonport & Mount Victoria from the ferry
central Auckland from Devonport’s Mount Victoria
Devonport. And a cool guy that got in the shot. 🙂
Rangitoto Island from Mount Victoria
We got back, and I was tired. And apparently sick (which I discovered the next morning when the 1-year-old woke up with fever). It was a fairly awful night, in all honesty. But any adventurer has to have a fairly awful night from time to time. If they don’t, then they weren’t really an adventurer to start with, were they? Without awful nights, there would be no adventure. So, in between being sick with a sinus infection a week before leaving, then getting fever yesterday, then moving to a different country in a different hemisphere on a different side of the world – then in between leaving family and friends and teenage girls and then finding out I can’t watch Psych here plus starting a full time job, I suppose I had to break down at some point. I broke down last night. When you have fever, it’s hard to hold back tears.
Having said all this, I spend most of the day weak and sick. But after talking to my parents this afternoon (and I’m sure being prayed for quite a bit after that), I started feeling better. And better. My 3-year-old told me she loved me while we were making birthday cards for her cousins, and we spent most of the day reading picture books. And my 1-year-old (who has been a little shy to me) ran to me crying because she wanted to cuddle with me. The whole afternoon, I got to hold her more than she has let me before, so in a way we made each other feel better for a little while at a time.
Thus, I have been there and back again to Mount Victoria, and I have been there and back again to a place of discouragement and homesickness. I’m sure I will go there and back again in the future as well, but will conquer that hill when I come to it. If a little hobbit like Bilbo Baggins can slay a dragon, if a little boy like David can kill a giant with a stone, then a little Ashley Ruth Sewell can climb hills. If Gandalf can give Bilbo a nudge out of the door, then maybe my God can continue to do the same.