It's an odd condition for me to consider myself a morning person while at the same time not liking to do things in the morning. By "things" I mean "physical things." Give me a cup of coffee along with something to read, and I'll gladly beat the alarm up any morning. But make me move a muscle before my dreams are done, and I'll beat the alarm up in a different way.
I loathe the pre-dawn workout. I've never had fun on a morning "fun run." Watching the sunrise from a mountain peak is overrated. Of course I said it was amazing at the time, but that was to convince myself it was worth getting up at 4 a.m. Upon further review, the call on the mountaintop is reversed. The climber was clearly out of his mind from sleep deprivation.
It's worse in the winter. Cold, dark mornings don't inspire me to get out. Here's how bad it is - I don't even like getting going early for a powder day. Yes, I'm a die-hard skier who is not dying to get dressed and stand around bumping into and fighting with over-amped enthusiasts in a line to a lift that won't budge for another 45 minutes. You can have it! I'll take the chopped-up leftovers after lunch. How about the solitude of off-piste skiing before dawn, then? All I'll say is, Santa, If I am worthy of a Christmas present next year, please don't let it be a headlamp. I'll find more uses for a lump of coal.
Why am I revealing this very personal information? While it will certainly provide grounds to do so, my intent is not to be summarily eliminated from consideration for the Aspen Local of the Year Award.
It's that I'm puzzled that I am disappointed about missing the Hike for Hope uphill event beginning not so bright but early at 7:30 Sunday morning at the base of Buttermilk. I'll be on a mission to get my daughter back to college.
Hike for Hope is an event that raises money for muscular dystrophy research, which I support with all my heart. Muscular dystrophy is an incurable disease that afflicts mostly children, after all. I would gladly get up at any hour of the day and suffer a hike to the top of the mountain for this worthy cause.
Truly, though, I look forward to this event. It's not an obligation. How can that be? It's an early-morning event requiring physical exertion outside in the cold. For me to want to do this makes no sense. I could sleep in and write a check, and the cause would benefit just the same. Or would it?
The only summation I can come up with is that by actually getting up to participate in the Hike for Hope, I am getting more than I am giving. As selfish as this sounds, I believe it's true. I don't think it's a bad thing, either. In fact, I think it is what makes this one of the coolest events around.
What I needed in order to come to this conclusion was a large dose of humility. As imperfect as I am, God is not going to leave the comfort and well-being of his afflicted children up to me. Yes, of course I should try to help, but he's got them covered. I am sure of that. Why then has he inspired my enthusiasm for actually hiking for hope? It's because this event helps me!
I have been blessed to know two boys in my life with muscular dystrophy. While it is incredibly sad and painful to see the progression of the disease on their young bodies, it is inspiring to see the effects of their internal strength on their families and others close to them. The Hike for Hope is one of many rings of ripples that make people better as they spread outward from a sick child. I've seen it start from Ian Sharp and John Keleher and then move to their families to their friends to members of the community. I pray it doesn't stop with me.
We can cure diseases and ease physical pain with hard work and money, but only when the general human condition is improved do we have hope for peace and joy in this life. It can happen only by actively participating in family, friendship, community, country and the world, no matter what time of day. Hike for hope.
Roger Marolt will be thinking of all of you as you are hiking for hope Sunday morning. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.