A while ago, I went through one of those periods in life that seem to be overloaded with stress. There was a major crisis and tension on the work front, and all this spilled over into family and personal life. Doesn’t it usually go that way?

Up to that point, I’d considered myself quite a calm person, able to withstand aggravating circumstances and be patient with difficult personalities. I guess it’s good to realize that even your strong point sometimes can fail you, and if nothing else, an apparent disappointment and failure can help you remain humble.

It so happened that I lost my patience—my well-treasured, vintage patience, and more than once! I was constantly tense and on edge, and that started affecting my sleep and my general health. I was becoming a different person and saw myself going down a dangerous path.

I knew that if I wanted to keep my sanity, I had to find a way out—and in fact, the way happened to be right outside my door!

There’s a windy, uphill road just around the corner that takes you to a mountain pass about 8 km away. That seemed like a worthwhile goal, so I started going on daily walks.

I’m a good walker, but going uphill has never been my favorite, so I started slowly and went a little further each day, until I was finally able to make it to the end and back.

Along the way, I’d listen to music and inspirational podcasts, pray for my children and others, and admire the gorgeous views, the majestic trees, and the occasional wildlife. As I was almost always alone, I’d occasionally sing, and sometimes I’d even cry. Sometimes, as I left the house, I was so pent up inside I felt I was about to explode—and in fact, many of my “walks” started at such a pace that I was almost running—running from problems and tensions, and hopefully into God’s arms.

That particular challenging period of my life is over, but I’m sure others will come. Those uphill walks helped me to unplug from my reality and connect with God and His perfection. They helped me get rid of tension, frustrations, and negativity, breathe fresh air and think heavenly, positive thoughts.

I still go up that road, though not as often. As I’ve practically memorized each step, it has almost become part of me. It contains my heartbreaks, my tears—and my newfound joy.