Since moving to Colorado at the end of June, I’ve been able to climb 7 of Colorado’s 54 “14ers”- mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation! I hope to conquer 2-3 more before the climbing season comes to a close. I have to admit that I’ve climbed some of the “easier” ones, mostly class 1 and 2 (5 being most difficult), but the last one, Castle Peak bordered on a class 3! The final 500 feet of elevation ascent to the summit was precarious to say the least- slippery footing, scrambling up rock ledges, and traversing a ridge line that fell steeply away on both sides. Just writing this makes my legs feel like rubber… again! As exhilarating as these climbs have been physically and emotionally, I’ve also learned a couple spiritual lessons…
First, despite how difficult and challenging the climb from the valley below, when you reach the summit, the view and the sense of being “on top of the world” is well worth the struggle to get there! In life, we know that there will always be valleys to go through and mountains to climb; and of course you’ll never get to the top of the mountain unless your committed to putting in the effort to actually get there. Once on top, you have an entirely new perspective of where you’ve come from! The Bible is replete with analogies of “mountaintop” experiences. Spiritually, it often means that, yes, there will be valleys of despair, struggle, and hardships; but valleys are also formed by mountains. You will soon leave the valley and find yourself moving “upward”- stay the course, the perspective at the top will be well worth the climb. Suddenly, when you “summit” the situation, you realize just how far you’ve come, and how much you’ve accomplished.
Second, the climb up the mountain and the experience at the top is always much more encouraging and enjoyable when you have others along with you on the trail! Actually, it is far wiser and safer to never climb alone, despite how easy you may think the ascent is going to be. Thank God, we all have people in our lives that are committed to climbing our “mountains” with us- they urge us on when we need it, they offer counsel along the way, and they high five and hug us when we reach the top. We all need that. We all are either climbing a mountain we need to climb, or hopefully, we’re climbing alongside of others in their trek to the top. Either way, we find strength and a sense of satisfaction in the accomplishment.
Several weeks ago, me and two of my climbing buddies, found ourselves within reach of the summit of aptly named, Challenger Peak. But clouds began to move in that might indicate rain, and the final ascent that lie ahead of us was very steep and the footing was very unstable. Frankly too, we were exhausted from having already climbed 5 miles and 3500 feet in elevation! We had all but lost our will to go on. If anyone of us had been on the side of that mountain alone, I can honestly say, we would have turned around and headed back down. But great inspiration comes from great people who have a mutual interest in one another’s lives! Before too long, we were “firing each other up” and up the mountain we went to reach the summit- together!
Yes, in life, there are mountains to climb: stay the course and always summit with others!