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The Journey and the View from the Top

I live in the mountains and it still amazes me how awe struck I can be at any moment.  The mountains are the same, but with just the right light and any given time of year they look different.  They look more beautiful and breath-taking everyday.  Some days it is because it is a crystal clear day and other days it is because of the way the fog has settled in or is lifting.  Here is a story I read from You Changed My Life by Max Lucado that really made me think about the mountains in our lives and the daily journey we have throughout our lives.

"While in Colorado for a week's vacation, our family teamed up with several others and decided to ascend the summit of a fourteen-thousand-foot peak.  We would climb it the easy way.  Drive above the timberline and tackle the final mile by foot.  You hearty hikers would have been board, but for my family with three small girls, it was about all we could take.

The journey was as tiring as it was beautiful.   I was reminded how the air was thin and my waist was not.

Our four-year-old Sara had it doubly difficult.  A tumble in the first few minutes left her with a skinned knee and a timid step.  She didn't want to walk.  Actually, she refused to walk.  She wanted to ride.  First on my back, then in Mom's arms, then my back, then a friend's back, then my back, then Mom's . . . well you get the picture.

As I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Sara to walk, I tried describing what we were going to see.  "It will be so pretty." I told her.  "You'll see all the mountains and the sky and the trees."  No luck - she wanted to be carried.  Still a good idea, however.  Even if it didn't work.  Nothing puts power in the journey like a vision of the mountaintop.

Our group finally made it up the mountain.  We spent an hour or so at the top, taking pictures and enjoying the view.  Later, on the way down, I heard little Sara exclaim proudly, "I did it!"

I chuckled.  No you didn't, I thought.  Your mom and I did it.  Friends and family got you up this mountain.  You didn't do it." -

This story made me think about how we each have our own life journey and how similar it is to this story.  We all have experience peaks and valleys, moments of no clear vision of where we are going and moments of miles of clear vision, and we have all been carried and all have carried others a many ways (in the story they first all rode in a car remember).  Each of these aspects has its place and purpose in each of our lives.  Sometimes it is very difficult to understand the "why" or the "how."  It has been my experience that the answers to these questions always come at some point.  It may not be the answer we desire or it may be a complete surprise.  It may take years to truly understand the answer or it might be an instant answer.  These can be very difficult and frustrating times.

My challenge for you today is to identify where you are in the mountain landscape, look around and see who is with you, and how each one is traveling.  Each person on the journey may have a different answer and perspective to this question.  There are no right or wrong answers.  Pause, take a moment to absorb and appreciate each of these aspects of your personal journey.  If you feel there is no clear vision, turn around - there could be a breath-taking view behind you.  If you are tiring from carrying someone up the peak, set your sights on the "view from the top," or look closely to see if you are being carried too.  Through every journey, every peak and every valley and all the space in between, the journey is rich and the view from the top is spectacular!  Sometimes the richness is not in the way we image or desire, but if you stop and look and are willing to search for it the richness will be there.  It might be covered under ashes from a forest fire or a fresh snowfall, but it is there.  The view from the top may be obscured when you get there by darkness or fog, but wait . . . the reward for climbing to the top will come.  It may take waiting until morning or waiting for the fog to lift, but it is there.

Blog post written by Angela Bailey, Legacy Retreat Coordinator