Learning from failure

View of the Tetons from Sawtell Peak Trail.

We were all a little summit hungry after Mt. Washburn.

Wildflowers in bloom on Sawtell.

So, we attempted another summit.  Longer hike, less elevation gain.  It seemed like a good balance.

However, we arrived during what I can only describe as a massive swarm of bees and horseflies.  Huge ones.  Probably due to the abundant blooms on the mountain.

They surrounded us, and one of the girls got bitten pretty good.  Everyone was doing fine until they saw the thin stream of blood flowing from the wound.  Then the two oldest girls panicked.

The younger girls were able to remain calm in spite of the hoards flying around their heads, but the two oldest just couldn’t do it and they lost all sense.  We tried to hike for a while, but we didn’t get more than 2/3 of a mile up the mountain before it just wasn’t possible to continue.  We turned back.

When we were back in the safety of home, we talked for a long time about faith and fear, about keeping our heads and trusting mom.  We learned a lot about horseflies and their bites, too. :)

In the past month, the girls seem to be getting repeated chances to learn about keeping their heads in a dangerous situation.  Descending a mountain at sunset.  Attempting a hike amid swarms of dangerous insects.  Descending another mountain during a sudden and unexpected hail storm.

After the most recent experience (hail storm), my third daughter, who had been the most shaken, asked me why things like that kept happening.  Why God would allow us to be caught in a dangerous storm that could have hurt us.  I believe He is offering my daughters opportunities to learn something important, because though the challenge has been different each time, the lesson has been the same.  I could be frightened that my girls would have a real need in the future to keep their heads and not panic, to listen and be calm, or I could be grateful that they are being given chances to practice and learn.

No experience is wasted.  The summit isn’t always the most important outcome.  The failure can be just as crucial.

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