I ♥ mountains.
Fall, spring, summer doesn’t matter. Winding river streams, waterfalls, and wildflowers. Our fall pilgrimage in my house often involved the following: consult a map, find breakfast and go. Rarely did we take main roads to get there, but every back road, holler, and hairpin road to get to wherever we eyed on the map the night before. (This could explain my penchant for road trips nowadays…) On one trip alone we counted 8 houses with the same off green shade of paint, close to 20 with limestone foundations and we happened upon the largest sea of school buses known to man- hundreds y’all- parked in neat little rows at the blue bird bus factory.
Before you get the wrong idea- we weren’t anywhere near what you would call hikers. We sported tennis shoes rather than hiking boots and probably munched on pork rinds instead of trail mix. And before bottled water, there was only a cooler of apple juice and diet cokes waiting in the car when we returned.
Mountains require more than a little work to get to the top before you can fully appreciate the view, but well worth the climb. Maybe I love them because they’re solid. They don’t shift. I know where I stand and I can see for miles in every direction. I’m more than ok with that. Aren’t we all..?
But sometimes, I misplace my faith and instead of pitching my tent on that mountain top and being anchored in the Lord I get shipwrecked in the muck. I doubt my place and get swayed too easily by the wind. I run for shelter in the caves and though I may think I’m living in my own little world – and it’s ok because they know me here- it’s not terribly productive. When my own criticisms and complaints do nothing but bounce off those stone walls, I can start to feel trapped and if I’m not careful, I can slide right into the pits. Sometimes I dig those pits myself. But I realized I always have a choice.
My first challenge, whether I’m tunneling my own holes throwing dirt on myself or having it thrown on me by no fault of my own is to stop digging. Stresses will come and go. They will sometimes pile up and threaten to bury you under or choke you out like a weed until you can’t even see the sun anymore. You can wallow or you can determine to fix your gaze up and start putting that dirt underneath your feet…
Do you know the story about the farmer’s mule that fell in a big ol’ pit in the ground left by an abandoned well? Since the poor farmer had no tractors or equipment for pulling his mule out of that hole, and the mule had lived a good long life, he decided the best thing was to bury the old workhouse there. At first the mule was frantic and made one heck of a racket from the bottom of the hole, but as shovels full of dirt continued to hit the mule’s back and pile up all around him, an idea formed. He put off the panic and decided instead to shake off the clods of soil and sand and step up onto the mounds being created at the bottom of the hole eventually rising to the top to climb out. What was meant for bad, was transformed into good.
So I vow to put down my shovel and reclaim my higher ground. No more panic only appreciation and awe at what I’ve been given. So wherever you find yourself this week, remember God is already there waiting to meet you in the pit, at the cave or on the mountain.