Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
One month ago I climbed Pop Pop’s Mountain. You’ve never heard of it? It’s legendary in my family. It looks down on all other peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In fact, no other point surpasses Mt. Washington in the northeastern United States. A year ago I hiked it for the first time. My dad and I trekked up the path that my grandfather has done for so many years. This year was different. This time I watched Pop Pop’s daughters, my mother and aunt, will themselves to the summit in the spirit of partaking in their father’s glory.
Mountain sides provide plenty of time for thought. Perhaps if I could transport Rainier or McKinley to my backyard, I’d drink my morning coffee on their slopes. Rainier one day and McKinley the next. But I digress. I wrote a couple thoughts down as I hiked. I share them with a disclaimer: I participate here in the age-old writer’s tradition of comparing a mountain to life’s journey. The pile of rough drafts from writers who’ve used such a metaphor could likely form its own mountain. You can throw these blogs on top.
It’s not the climb… (Pondering #1)
Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb” is the most recent mountain and life metaphor I can recall. Regarding the climb of life she sings, “Ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb, yeah!” On one hand I get her point. Enjoy life now. I enjoyed the hike. Every so often the trees would clear and I could see for miles. But my climb up Mt. Washington exposed Cyrus’s lyrics as utter stupid theology. The first two miles of the trail wind upward below the tree line. Tree trunks and bowling ball boulders greet you around every turn, not to mention walking up what feels like a 45 degree incline. If you don’t watch your step, you could easily kiss a rock and break your teeth in the process. I fell twice on the way down. A mile and half in, my aunt turned a corner and saw the next hundred feet of the same terrain. “It never changes,” she grumbled.
It never changes. Imagine life without hope for change of any kind. What if life as you know remained exactly as it is forever? What if you maintained the same job, if you have one, the same house and finances, and the same friends without any hope for improvement for the next 3,000 or 4,000 years plus another couple million? In essence, there would be no summit to the mountain of life. But who cares, it’s the climb, right Miley?
To solely enjoy the journey without moving toward a destination is no journey at all. It’s foolishness. Hope subconsciously propels us to what’s waiting on the other side, a place that Jesus says He’s preparing for those that know the Father through Him (John 14). I think it’s safe to say our climb pales in comparison to that summit.