“How hard could it be?”

Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt

“How hard could it be?” is the question that has often preceded my finest adventures.

Thirty years ago, when a woman who was scheduled to sing at a wedding came down with laryngitis and asked me to fill in for her, I remember asking myself, “How hard could it be?”  and said yes.  I’d never sung at a wedding  before, but really… how hard could it be? I mean… what’s the worst that could happen, right? I could stumble over the words maybe, or hit the wrong note, or I could come into a verse too early or too late, or my voice could disappear, or I could end up completely humiliating myself in some way. But how hard could it be? And so when the time came, there I was, singing a Beatles song at Peggy’s wedding, and there, also, was Scott Terrell, serving as the wedding photographer. And we were drawn to each other after the ceremony, and talked and laughed, and this is how I met the man who would be my husband.

How hard could it be? I asked myself as I strapped the crampons onto my boots, and looked up the mountain slope to the summit. And so I found myself on the tops of Mounts Rainier, Baker, Hood, and Adams. How hard could it be? I asked myself as I considered motherhood, and, before long became mother to one of my favorite people in the world, and, a few years later, to another one of my favorite people in the world. And, how hard could it be? I asked myself as I interviewed for the teaching job that would bring me into a twenty-year teaching career, and, later, met with the director of another school who offered me my current position.

And when the young Americorps volunteer in my current school asked me to join him and eight high schoolers for an overnight snowshoe trip, I gulped discreetly, and asked myself, “How hard could it be?”

I had concerns. Firstly, I do not seem to have the same body I had ten years ago. I know. Weird, right?  I’m not sure, exactly, when things began to go south – but, let’s just say, that the body that had gotten me to the summits of Rainier, Baker, Hood, and Adams is no more.  Would I be the weak link on this epic adventure? The person who held everyone else up? And  I hadn’t been snow-shoeing in, like, twenty years, and wasn’t sure I remembered how to go about it. Also, I didn’t know the students who were coming on the trip, and nor did they know me.  I felt a nervous weight of responsibility towards them.  And then there was the issue of the “facilities.” The cabins we would be staying in had no bathrooms in them –  an outhouse about fifty yards down a sloping hill would be serving as our toilet. And… umm… did I mention that my body is not what it was ten years ago?

Yeah. “How hard could it be?” became my daily mantra in the week before the snowshoe trip…

But ohmygosh! I had such a fantastic time! The students ended up taking care of ME – they helped me put on my snowshoes,  showed me how to dig my toes in so I could make it up that really steep slope,  and introduced me to our local radio station 92.5 FM – which has some way cool music I’d never heard before.

It was a wonderful trip – a great escape from classrooms and traffic and everyday life – and into the peace and beauty of the mountains in winter.  I’m so glad I asked myself “How hard could it be?” and accepted the Americorps volunteer’s invitation to a mid-week adventure.

And did I mention I actually got paid for this?!

Yeah. Life is good. 🙂

Fear never stopped being and its action. – Mary Baker Eddy

Photos from our epic adventure (by Karen Molenaar Terrell) –

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3 thoughts on ““How hard could it be?”

  1. Most of the time when I say “how hard can it be” it is with a new & adventurous dessert. 7-layer chocolate mousse cake w/chocolate ganache? how hard could it be?… pretty tricky when your spring form pan is an inch too big all the way around, at which point my other favorite phrase kicks in “we’ll figure out a way to make it work”… 😀

      • I think it was one of Martha Stewart’s Valentine’s Day monstrosities from quite a few years back (and well before I had small children to “help” with such undertakings). These days “how hard can it be” frequently refers to getting all of us out the door on time. 😉

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