Mountains and Valleys

I was actually doing it.  I was climbing a mountain.  I thought the path would never end, but the trees were really pretty.  This was no Ontario “mountain”.  I was in Alberta, in the Rocky Mountains, with my brother.  Who is a very experienced mountain climber, among other crazy things.  I kept telling myself that once we got to the top it would be worth it and be beautiful.  


Now, if you know anything about mountain climbing, you’ll realize that I was in big trouble wondering if it was almost done while I was still in the trees.  Duh.  I forgot that trees don’t grow high up on the mountain.  Once we got out of the trees, I realized what a pickle I was in.  I’m not exactly what you would call a fitness expert.  Or especially brave.  Some scrambling and many stops with my hands on my knees later, we reached the top.

It was probably one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen.  I immediately forgot about all the horror I had getting up there.  Suddenly it was one of the best things I had done in my life.  I was determined to make this a hobby.  While eating my lunch, I wondered why there wasn’t a million people climbing this mountain.  Why wouldn’t everyone want to do this??

After a little more climbing to get over to the other side, I realized that I might never want to do this again.  We had to walk along a two inch ledge.  Well, maybe two feet, but I walked along it like it was a tightrope and certain death was on either side.  And then we came to the worst part.

Getting down.

I stood transfixed looking down.  The only thing worse than going down that mountain would have been climbing it again.  I’m sure that my brother was laughing at me on the inside, but in his incredible patience, he showed me the best way to get down.  The best thing that happened to me was falling down.  Yes, I fell down a mountain.  About a foot.  But that didn’t stop my dramatic story telling to everyone who wasn’t there.  When I realized that if I slipped, I wouldn’t fall to my death, I was able to go slightly faster.  We’re still talking terrified novice pace, but at least slightly faster than before.

The top of that mountain was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  Getting there was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  And I didn’t get to stay there very long.

Lately I’ve been realizing that life is a lot like that.  Some days we’re walking through the valley.  Other days we’re climbing the mountain.  Some glorious days we’re standing at the top, so close to God its like He’s standing right there.  And the view is magical.  And you could stay there forever.  Except we can’t.

There’s always the eventual coming down the mountain.  And it can be slow and steady or quick and terrifying.  Some days we navigate it like a pro and other days we’re a terrified novice falling down over and over again.

It can take so little to make me fall down the mountain.  A reminder, an encounter, a message, a picture, a social media post.  I was high on the mountain fellowshipping with God, and suddenly I’m falling down and I’m devastated to have left the top.  

As wonderful as it would be to live on the mountaintop, its not realistic.  Its not life.  What makes the mountain views so gorgeous is that they are hard fought and hard won and short lived.  They’re worth every moment of climbing.

But I forget that God’s in the valley too.  He’s like my patient brother, telling me exactly the right way to walk.  He’s made the beauty of the trees at the bottom of the mountain.  He walks with us in the calm of the valley before the next hard fought climb.

The grass and the streams and the wildflowers in the valley may be ordinary.  It may seem that they pale in comparison to the the spectacular mountaintop.  But we need both.  We need the rest of the valley.  We need the inspiration of the mountaintop.  We need the workout of the climb.  We even need the falling down so the Father can remind us of how much we need Him.

So whether you’re in the resting, or the fighting, or the falling, or just awed by the view, enjoy where you are.  Let the Father walk with you, or fight alongside you, or catch you.  Wherever you are, He is too.