I was BIG into reading the Hunger Games and Divergent series back in the day! Who wasn’t? Or at least you’ve seen one of the movies or have heard about it. At that same time, I was sucked into a similar series called the Matched series by Ally Condie. I have yet to finish the last book (one of my biggest weaknesses is finishing books), but in the series, it tells of this great allegory.
The second book in the series, Reached, opens with the story of Sisyphus, a man who rolls a rock up a hill every day only to watch it roll back down again. He does this endlessly, “piloting” the rock so that others don’t have to. One day, a great flood fills the rut his rock has created and washes him away, so a child takes over in his place, rolling the rock back up the hill.
This has been what life has felt like lately. Like I’m living this life that’s full of uphill battles, only to have it roll back down… like I’m facing the same struggles every day. I’m finding this in my job, in relationships, in the dating world, and in just keeping up with my laundry for goodness sakes (you feel me?)! Maybe that’s why I needed a break from blogging this past week. To gather myself, to gather my thoughts, and to push the rock back up the hill a few more times.
I think we idolize this ability to push the rock up the hill. As in by pushing it up the hill, we show that we have it under control, we can do it in our own strength, and we can do it without asking for help – alone. We idolize these things and to top it off, to save others from doing it. Isn’t that the greatest part – we’re heroes! This feels so fake to what real life looks like. It is rare that anyone has literally everything under their control, can do all the things, and can do it all by themselves. Yet, we live in a society that praises and is in awe of those who exude or portray online these abilities. And yet, maybe they aren’t doing it all alone…
I’m learning this art of sharing enough of my life and story on social media/online, and yet holding enough close that my close friends truly know ME. Does that make sense? There are just parts of us that should be reserved for those closest to us, and the whole world doesn’t need to see or know about. Sometimes, there are parts of us and our stories that need to be a face to face conversation to understand your thoughts/passion/emotion on things. I also don’t want to be this Debbie Downer or Eeyore, who’s complaining or down about life, but I want to be real!
So, here’s real – I can 100% say that I like being able to say that I’ve pushed the rock up the hill alone, without asking for help. This started at the ripe age of 4 (maybe earlier… yes, most definitely earlier) trying to put my shoes on by myself. They were most likely put on the wrong feet, and yet I’m sure I walked around in them for as long as my feet could withstand it. “I do it myself” was a commonly repeated phrase in my youngest years – just ask my mother. I’m realizing though, these are the times I need other people the most. I need them (those trusted Voices) to speak correction whether I want to hear it or not (put the shoes on the right feet!), positivity, encouragement, words of affirmation, encourage confidence, and I need FUN. We weren’t created to live life alone, and in the times that we’re struggling, this can be the most exposed need!
I’m also always trying to test my limitations. How many things and people can I schedule a day without tiring myself out? How fast do you think I can climb up that rock wall? How many minutes can I shave off my mile time running this year? There are many times that it feels like I’ve pushed that rock almost to the tippy top, only to have it roll right over me. We need to know when we not only need to ask others to help us roll the rock up the hill, but to know when to quit. Some rocks just aren’t meant for us to push up the hill.
The overall theme though has me a bit puzzled… what hope is there if this is all that we live for? To continually push a rock up a hill? If that was my soul purpose, would I be ok with that? Could I be content? When I look at others and how they’re pushing their rocks up the hill, I can either let myself wander into the camp of comparison or I can cheer them on/help them out!
As I think back on Easter, I think about how Christ rolled a rock up a hill! This past Sunday, Pastor Doug talked about how the stone that was rolled in front of the grave was rolled into a ditch or trench. He rolled this stone back by defeating death so that others wouldn’t have to face the punishment for sin that was so deserved. Such a neat tie to this allegory! 1 Peter 1:3 says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”.
So, we have more for this life! It’s not just rolling a rock up this hill, but a living hope in Christ and for more than this Earthly life! For some, this looks like the act of doing what makes you come most alive, and for others, this looks like a beautiful eternity!
What can you do right now that makes you come most alive? Maybe it’s walking away from a rock. I’m not talking about being irresponsible, like walking out of your job that pays the bills. Rather, maybe it’s a letting go of a rock. I’m letting go of the rocks that aren’t mine to push up the hill. I’m letting go of the fear of failure. I’m letting go of defeat. I’m letting go of insecurities – it doesn’t matter how you push the rock up the hill, it’s sometimes just the fact of doing it. I’m letting go of my pride, and asking for help.