Dear Oscar, today I want to share one of my fondest memories with you. It’s from my last holidays: a hiking trip to a volcano.
Imagine a relatively small serpentine road and a little car that climbs it up. And if you look through the windscreen you can already see the volcano. And the closer you get the more colors appear: Black and brown but also red, yellow, green and even a few white spots. The sky is blue and the sun is shining brightly. The thermometer reaches 30 degrees. First designation: Valley Station. One feels so small in relation to the big mountain ahead. And there it is: the first thrill of excitement. You have to get up there to the top at nearly 3.300 meters.
The first stage is easy going. The cable car takes you up. One can enjoy the really sensational view. And it’s not only the massive smoky mountain but the whole landscape. The black lava is spotted with goldish yellow plants, the pattern of the ground varied from lava fields to fine black sand and there are the calderas, some of them are only a few years old. Wisps of smoke occur. The whole scenery appears surreal the further away one gets from the public place at the food of the mountain. And your mind begins to wander and one tries to imagine how the setting might have looked a few years ago and if it will change again in future. This place seems to be in a state of transition even now when the cabins hover over it. And one can sneak a peek at the next step of the journey: a small trail leading up the edge of the volcano.
At first it’s not very hard to cope with the gradient of the trail. The ground is solid. But that changes relatively fast. The black sand gains the mastery and one sinks in while moving forward. The legs grow heavy as the path steepens. This gives rise to doubts: Can I make it to the very top of the mountain? One can see people walk there at the crater edge tiny like ants. So there is quite a distance to cover. But you cannot fail to be impressed by the surrounding. Nearly every step one makes discovers the hidden snow under the lava sand and creates beautiful sparkling imprints. And if you look closely there are also teensy red spots: ladybugs, little lucky charms. And you move on, slowly but steady, climbing switchback after switchback, fixing one’s eyes on the top. You are more than curious about the view inside the crater. You cannot wait to see it so you won’t give up although the legs are tired. And then the trail surges for the last time and after a few more steps one has made it. And the view into the volcano is one of the most impressive ones in life, really phenomenal and incomparable beautiful: Precipitous walls and more different colors. It’s all about the power and the beauty of nature. And you’re standing there at the edge and everything is so quiet and peaceful although this mountain is one of the most dangerous ones in the world, still breathing and ready to erupt again. And although you might wish this moment could last forever, you have to start back.
To make this adventure even more exciting there is the opportunity to go out of the way. And there you are, standing at a steep hillside which is covered with the black sand and you truly see no way down: no footsteps, no marks only untouched surface. It’s like a step into the unknown. And you will take this step because you are too curious about how it feels like and the excitement is much bigger than the fear. And it’s so much fun! It doesn’t feel like walking. It’s more sliding and carving and falling, like skiing in deep powdery snow. One reaches the cable car station far too soon. And when you look back, there is a new path created by yourself. Priceless! It was pretty amazing and worth every bit of effort.
Looking back, the whole experience makes me think of you, Oscar. I truly think our journey in life is not about following a given path but about creating one. And this is probably one of the most difficult things in the world with many ups and downs. But one has to take the first step in faith. And you’ve done that perfectly in the past. There are your very unique and beautiful footsteps in the hearts of your family, friends and supporters, in the history of sports and in the lives of those who are inspired by your story of life and your charity work. And if you listen to what your mind and heart already know and let go how your journey should be this will always lead you down the right path. Use the love, hope and faith inside you to be strong. And please be sure that we’ll go every path with you.
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”