It’s been a long time since I visited Mt. Freedom, though my time on the mountain has been one of the most incredible journeys of my life. I stepped foot on Mt. Freedom a bit over six years ago when I put out my last cigarette. I remember that first day, staring up the slopes and realizing that I has so far to go to get to the top. And the thing was, I knew this was going to be a long, hard climb. Still I could see the summit so high above, and knew that no matter what, I’d one day be standing there, and that on that day it would feel like I was standing on top of the world!
And so I put one foot in front of the other, always climbing upward to where my goal lied. My steps were faltering at first, for I had to get my footing for the rest of the trip. At first I was nervous about slipping and sliding down the slopes to the beginning of my journey, where I’d have to start all over again.
As the days became months, my footing became more secure and I could see the summit, and the banner up there, flowing in the wind. As I drew closer, I realized that there were a lot of people up there, beckoning me on as I followed the trail that had been blazed by so many before me.
Before long, all I could do was focus on that summit. There were many sign posts along the way as well, keeping me safe from the slippery slopes of the snow fields and there was even a path through the boulder fields that lied between me and my goal.
Month after month I continued climbing and then one day, without even noticing, I found myself on that summit. There, I found that the banner that had looked so tiny in the beginning of my journey was the banner of freedom. I grabbed it and waved it high over my head, as my heart was filled with laughter and accomplishment!
I couldn’t believe that I made it and realized right then that if I hadn’t taken that first faltering step so long ago, I’d never have made it to the summit. I’d never feel the freedom I feel now!
We all have our Mt’ Freedom inside of us. It lives in the realm of resolve and a belief that we belong on that wonderful summit. That we deserve to be free. It becomes a part of us the moment we manage to put out that last cigarette. The moment we decide to take our lives back from ourselves. The day that we choose freedom over debilitating slavery.
Sure, the journey can be hard and filled with uncertainty. That’s why so many have blazed a trail to the top, and fixed ropes in the hopes of making it a little easier for those on the mountain because we all remember our journeys, and we all remember how we managed to stay on the path and in those times of another’s uncertainty on the trail, we try to offer a hand to help guide you to your wonderful new future.
Never believe that you can’t attain your dream. Never think that it’s only a dream for this is a dream that must become reality. It’s a dream that must never be tossed to the wayside. It’s a journey of life. A journey into a future that can be whatever we want to make it.
Just like so many of us here, if you can just take that first faltering step to freedom than one day you too will be waving that banner of freedom high over your head, and the smile on your face will light up the whole mountaintop. Can you see it? Can you see yourself happily at the end of your journey, smiling and free?
Because that’s what’s going to happen if you don’t stray from the trail. And if you come to a fork in the trail, and aren’t sure which way to go, we’ll be right here to guide you simply because we all want to see that smile on your face that only freedom can bring.
There’s always more room on the summit. I can’t wait to see you there!
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!