Out of Reach! Within our Grasp!

In the UK during the month of August the GCSE and A level exam results are published. Many pupils would have got expected or unexpected grades to enable them to move forward in their educational planning. Others will have to retake their exams to get a higher grade.


When we are training and preparing for a specific result we may often feel that it is ‘Out of our Reach.’ At times we feel over whelmed, it’s not possible, we have had enough and want to quit.

However, that which seems ‘Out of our Reach’ is often ‘Within our Grasp’ as we knuckle down and apply extra effort to achieve that given goal. Those who have done well in their exams will be quick to thank their parents, friends and teachers who have helped them. When we have failed certain tests we may be quick to blame others for our failure and that we were not good enough to pass the exam in the first place!

Thinking – At this present time what do you think is definitely Out of your Reach?

Feeling – How would you summarize your feelings? One of confidence or one of failure?

Acting – Does your actions follow your directed thinking, or does your feelings dictate your actions?

During the summer many people plan to climb a hilltop or meander through wooded forests and beautiful valleys enjoying the warmer weather. At Fort William in Scotland there is Ben Nevis (Gaelic for ‘Mountain of Heaven’) which is the highest mountain in the British Isles at over 4000 feet. In looking up to the summit one can definitely think and feel that any actions to ascend the top would be impossible!

Ben Nevis

The main way to tackle Ben Nevis for the novice is via The Mountain Track also known as the Pony Trail or Tourist Path.

There will be a more difficult way to climb the mountain but that would be for the experienced or professional climber.

So depending on the route to the summit and the weather conditions on the day, the timing and experience of the climb will be different for each person. Overall the common experience will be: A climb that seemed ‘Out of Reach’ had been ‘Grasped’ and completed in their own particular way.

A high mountain top experience is indeed ‘Something Else.’ In Scotland there are many places that are ‘Something else’ such as the Cuillin Mountains on the Isle of Sky. http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/skye/cuillin.shtml

The West and East Highlands are truly wonderful and amazing to see and experience. We can learn many things when we are on top of the world but we also have to be able to navigate a descent successfully to the lowlands.

Alongside the mountains in Scotland are the many Coe’s, Valleys and Lochs. Glencoe in particular is breath-taking but it also has a dark history to it. http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Glencoe-and-Dalness/


A journey in the valley may run deep and feel troublesome. We can think that we may never walk again upon that hillside or mountain top. We can feel trapped, demotivated and everything seems ‘Out of our Reach.’

In such times it’s important to recall that we often learn more through a ‘valley experience’ than those delights on a mountain. When we are in those high places we can forget our roots, foundations and core values and enter into situations that do not benefit us long term.

When we are in the valley we may realise afresh what is important to us. Who are friends are and what are the most important core values we hold on to. We can be reminded that most things in life at one time or another do seem to be ‘Out of our Reach,’ yet through more focused thinking, feeling and acting we may be able to have them ‘Within our Grasp.’

In the Old Testament there are 150 Psalms that reflect the ups and downs of life. Many of them are Psalms of Complaint against those we live with and even against the Lord Almighty.

Yet there are far more Psalms of Comfort that remind us that as we ascend and descend from mountain top experiences to the valley, there is a comfort and guidance we may find at the very point of our particular needs.

The most popular and often referred to Psalm is Psalm 23 which can take us for a season into that calm and settled Plateau that is truly wonderful and ‘Something else.’

So whatever is ‘Out of your Reach’ today, may you be able to ‘Grasp hold of it’ in your thinking, feeling and actions. May you be an achiever and overcomer alongside many of the pupils who have been informed this month of passing or failing their exams?


For further reading hit the links below for the second edition of my book Blog 51 (October 2020) in black and white or colour

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