Friday, 23 July 2010

The Welsh 3000s Part Five

As you may know by now, we completed this tough challenge in 19 hours, 55 minutes.

Good job my kit was up to it!

It was great to be part of a good team and we were reliant on excellent support.

Time for a bit of vulnerability from me. The truth is that things have been tough over the last few weeks because we lost a pregnancy. It has been a very dark time for Esther and I. I may well blog more about it in the future but we are just concentrating on getting through it for now.

I had been training since January 1st for this challenge. I had been training hard, doing a 9.5 mile circuit in South Shropshire fairly often. Five a side football on Mondays, circuit training on Tuesdays or Thursdays or both, then off to the hills at the weekend. When time allowed we had a couple of trips to Snowdonia just to acclimatise.

I was also supposed to do the “Three Peak” challenge, the highest peaks in Wales, England and Scotland in 24 hours. That was 3 weeks before the Bread challenge and would give me a good indicator as to how I was doing.

That was the day we had to go to hospital to undergo “medical management” to help sort out the failed pregnancy. It was a grim day. There is nothing that prepares you for that. You want it to be “over” in one sense and yet you never want it to end. You want another scan, the one that says all the others were a mistake and a little heart is beating.

So I had issues in my head. The opportunity to do a big challenge I had been training for six months to do had been taken away by the worst possible reason. It was dire. Of course the mountains did not matter compared to our family, but it all mushed up inside my head.

Fast forward 3 weeks and the Bread challenge is upon me, I have unfinished business. Unfinished business with my own heart. Unfinished business with the mountains. And if I am honest unfinished business with God.

An email came around the week before from Neal saying “It is a good idea to name each peak after a friend or loved one to help count them down and add significance”. Great idea!

I named one peak.

Number 15. Foel Fras.


Our epic adventure started at 3.15am with the alarm clock, and by 3.55am we were walking in horrendous weather up Crib Goch, an exposed ridge on the ascent of Snowdon which was the first peak of the challenge. The weather was simply horrendous. The peaks slowly started to tick by. In the rain and the mist and the friendship and the teamwork I could only really think of baby. The hours went by, peak 7, peak 8, getting ever closer.

So it was that sometime in the evening in the mist of the Carneddau range a tired and wet Dave approached the summit of Foel Fras, the fifteenth peak with my jubilant team. We were all delighted. High fives and photos finished, a moment of silence. We had done it.

I held the summit cairn in both hands, the wet rock gleaming in the light of my head torch. This was the moment.

“Lord, I give my baby to you. I release them into your care. I want to say that I love you. I will follow you. And I ask you to help me to continue to live for you”

I did not get closure.

I did not want closure.

I got peace.

Closure is an end. Closure is a door slammed shut. Closure is the finish of a journey. I did not want that.

This is the start of our journey, not the end. I have started my journey of fatherhood, it is just for whatever reason I don't have the priviledge of bringing this one up.

So I didn't want closure, I wanted peace.

I wanted a peace that says yes this is wrong, yes this is not what it was meant to be, yes this hurts like hell and no there is not an answer, except in the loving arms of a loving God who draws all things to himself through His son Jesus.

In rain like that you do not have to hide your tears.

As we trudged on in the endless descent down to the minibus and support waiting to pick us up I knew something had changed. Something deep inside. The part of me that died when baby died. The bit of me that could not go on my great adventure because we had to go to hospital instead. The bit of me that still hopes for the future day when I can walk hand in hand with my child to the football ground is at peace.

Peace with God, and maybe even at peace with myself. He is loving. He is strong. Baby is in His care, and so are we.


Adam said...

God Bless You Dave,


Charles said...

powerful blogpost Dave Thanks for sharing !

Pauline said...

Very powerful and very moving. Thank you, Dave