The mountain. Sometimes, that little hill looks more like a mountain. You think to yourself, “How in the world am I going to get over that mountain?” Sometimes, one person’s hill is another’s mountain (and one person’s mountain is another person’s hill).

I have mountains of clothes that needThere are mountains, and there are hills laundering and mountains of dishes that need washing. It could be a mountain of bills that need paying and a mountain of food or clothes that need buying. Depending on what’s going on in my life, the pile—that growing stack—sometimes feels like a hill and sometimes like a big, daunting mountain.

There are mountains, and there are hills. There are also bumps in the road. One thing that seems almost certain is that life is never flat.

I saw a client recently who was in the middle of a fertility treatment. Before it started, she didn’t know how she was going to get through it. Everything seemed so daunting and high. I told her to take one step up at a time and know that no matter what, she would be able to climb to the top if she kept focused that G‑d would help her up.

Now that she started and is in the middle of it all, she tells me that this thought, and this thought alone, is what gives her the strength to keep climbing.

I think of the mountains of my life, of all of our lives. The tests and the trials. The feeling of helplessness when you look up and feel you are alone, and that alone you have to climb. The feeling of knowing that no matter what, you’re not alone—and that with the help of G‑d and faith there are more ways than you could have ever imagined to get through the roadblocks.

Here I am, and I’m writing to you from the bottom of a mountain. It’s one that I didn’t expect. My water just broke, I’m a month early, and I’m sitting here in a hospital bed. Me, the doula, the one who planned on hopefully having a home birth, is sitting in a hospital bed. And when it happened, what were the thoughts going through my head?

I’m not in control! How ironic. Disappointment, of course. And I keep telling myself to relinquish these thoughts, that I’m not in control. I’m at the bottom of the mountain—one I so much want to be on top of, and I think to myself, “How?” I know what I would say if I were someone else. One step at a time, keep focused, this is G‑d’s will, and with His help you’ll make it to the top.

Here I am in a hospital bed alone, instead of in the comfort of my home. And it hits me. One thing seems almost certain: Life is never flatThe nation of Israel left Egypt and they journeyed, and after 49 days, they stood where? At the bottom of a mountain. They were free, but something was missing. The road ahead was going to be bumpy—full of rocks and hills along the road. They stood before Mount Sinai, and what were the words G‑d spoke that everyone heard, and even saw, and understood?

“I am the L‑rd, your G‑d, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

That’s right. When you are at the lowest of the low, and feel you have such a big challenge or task in front of you to overcome, the one and only thing that will get you through is to remember that not only is there a G‑d, but it’s He who will lift us up.

I think back to all my life challenges and tests, and the challenges of all those around me. And I know what it is that gets me (us) through. I think about being a Jew and part of a nation that was persecuted time and time again, and still stands and grows and thrives. What is it? It’s the Torah that was given on a mountain, and the promise and declaration that G‑d took us out of a terrible bondage, and that He always was with us and always will be with us.

As I’m sitting here, I think these thoughts and know that this is what will get me through . . .