Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I Learned Headed to the Mountain-Top...

On our second day of hiking in Santa Fe, I was questioning my sanity and the strength of my own legs as they were beginning to feel like rubber bands. The first day we hiked 1.3 miles up the side of a mountain at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Patrick, his dad and his wife went half way up while Erin, Pearce and I hiked to the summit of these amazing hills and mountains. Patrick was suffering from altitude sickness, so the kids and I wandered the paths, climbed over rocks and boulders, squeezed through tight places and climbed to heights we had never reached before. I have to admit I wasn’t all that excited about reaching the top…atypical for a type-A person.

My family had not had a vacation since I started seminary, and we were in dire need of some time away. Personally, when I go on vacations to relax I like to curl up with a good book and listen to the waves pound the sand, but this wasn’t that kind of vacation…obviously. Believe it or not when I am on vacation and trying to relax, I’m a lot calmer and even quiet. I know that may surprise some of you, but I really am.

So, as the children and I were trekking upward and onward, I was taking my time, and what I learned was this – Sometimes we are so geared for that mountain-top experience that we negate the experience from the climb, and we overlook the beauty in the journey.

A tree standing between rocks straining for the sun in striking contrast to the rocks surrounding it against the bluest of blue skies.

Rocks that must have been honed by God’s own hand just to entertain the angels and humans who would discover these tent-shaped rocks. (Loved that conversation with my kids)

Swirls of different colored layers of stone crawling overhead and along each wall.

Children playing in the twisted and gnarled roots of a tree that refuses to die.

Places so tight along the path and so treacherous that not everyone who attempted would be allowed to pass.

Boulders balancing precariously atop of tent-shaped mounts.

I saw my children tackling their fears and asserting leadership.
And once we were almost to the top, we saw the tent-shaped mounts from a different perspective.

I saw works of art that I would have missed had I just been set on reaching the mountain-top experience.

God uses everything along whatever journey you are on. It is okay to observe your surroundings as you journey towards the mountain summit. I encourage you. By doing so, you will see that you are actually living life and experiencing life not overlooking the least of God’s blessings along the way.

And when you have to come down from the mountain top, as we all must, remember the view is different, so take your time. Enjoy the view. Learn what you can, and encourage those who are going up to the top to not stop and those who are headed down to keep their footing sure and their eyes open for the miracles that can happen if we are just aware. Because if we travelled 1.3 miles up, then we travelled 1.3 miles down.

What an amazing trek with my kids. Great conversations. Awesome experience. Time well-spent.

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