At the Top of a Mountain

Ben loves to research things. If he needs to buy a car, an engagement ring, or tickets for a tourist attraction, he will research it. I am learning to appreciate this more all the time. It used to frustrate me slightly, because it felt like he took so long to make a decision, but now I like it, because I know that he will be able to make better, more educated choices, if I leave him alone with his compute for a little while. When he talks about something, he usually has good things to say, because he’s thought about it and researched it for a few hours.

So when he said that we should go on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway because Tripadvisor ranked it the Number One and Two attraction to see in Palm Springs, I listened to him. So did Joel and Sarah, although some of us were slightly more freaked out than others about dangling from a cable, going up eight thousand feet on the second steepest tramway ride in the world.

Palm Springs Aerial TramwaytramwayI went on a tramway once when I was a kid. It was a memorable experience – the ride was very exciting, I loved being at the top of the mountain, and I was chased by a mountain goat because it wanted the piece of gum I was holding in my hand.

Fortunately, we saw no goats on this trip up, and the view was quite breathtaking.


top of the mountain

Proof that I was there. (Ben and I had to make a conscious effort to trade off with the camera – now we have one photo of me in Palm Springs for every 100 photos of Ben and the girls….)

meThe weather and scenery at the top of the mountain was completely different than at the bottom. It felt a little like we were back in Canada! Cold, evergreen trees, and brown, crunchy leaves. Apparently the locals like to go up there to cool off in summer…


leavesLunch at the top of the mountain was also fantastic, really. We’ve eaten at many restaurants on this trip, and because of dietary restrictions, I have to stick with salads. After awhile, there are only so many ways you can do a chicken salad, but this one was extra delicious.

saladAs were the popsicles.


Oh, look, I made it into another photo. Joel offered to take family pictures of us anytime, which was always awesome, because he would take a minimum of 20 photos, giving me lots to choose from…


berriesAnd then we came down the mountain, back to palm trees and heat. That little taste of Canada was enough for one day!!

Now I’m sitting at home, blogging in the snowbanks, and wishing there was a quick cable car ride to get me back to palm trees…. But sleeping in our own beds last night was pretty awesome. And spring will come soon???!

When I’m Longing For a Mountain Top

Have you ever noticed that a mountain top is very small, in relation to the rest of the mountain?

photo © 2003 Tambako The Jaguar | more info (via: Wylio)

Obviously. Anyone can see that, just by looking at it.

And yet, it seems that in real life, I have trouble remembering that. Because I keep wanting emotional mountain top experiences that happen all the time, or go on forever, preferably. But then it wouldn’t really be a mountain top.

You kind of need to go up on one side, and down on the other in order to have a mountain top. If it went on forever, it would be a plateau.

I don’t want a plateau.

But last night, I did want a mountain top. I was at home, enjoying a nice quiet evening by myself, and I sat down at my computer to write a blog post. I was completely expecting to do this easily and quickly, seeing as I had just taken a whole week off from blogging, and was anticipating getting back into the swing of things. I was expecting to feel rejuvenated and inspired.

But I had….nothing. No inspiration. I tried to think about the things I’d been learning or reading or working through, but there was nothing. Apparently my life has been a little ho-hum lately. Then I started to feel like maybe that was a bad thing – I should have something inspirational going on somewhere.

But there was…nothing.

So I gave up, and went and watched a movie. Very shallow. And extremely enjoyable. (And it actually inspired me with two new ideas for blog posts, what do you know.)

Anyway. I did my devotions after the movie was over, and guess what Oswald Chambers had to say yesterday? That mountain top experiences and feelings of inspiration are temporary. That as Christians,we’re useless to God if we insist on staying up on the mountain top. That we need to head back down into the valley, where life happens, and get to work.

If we try to reintroduce the rare moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want. We are making a fetish of the moments when God did come and speak, and insisting that He must do it again; whereas what God wants us to do is to “walk by faith”….Never live for the rare moments, they are surprises. (“My Utmost For His Highest”, Oswald Chambers)

I cannot sit down at my computer and summon a “rare moment”. I cannot decide that it’s about time for an inspirational insight from God. I can’t squeeze out words of wisdom by sheer will power. And I can’t decide that I’m a little tired of boring, normal life in the valley, and that it’s time for a trip to the top.

That’s making my relationship with Jesus into being all about the emotional highs.

Enjoy the view while you’re up there, by all means, but no one gets to stay.

I used to go skiing a lot with my family, and I loved the view at the top of the mountain. It was all so breathtaking that I would look and look, trying to soak it all in, not wanting to stop taking in that view. But eventually, I would always have to tear myself away, and ski down the mountain. (That was kind of the point of going skiing.)

But every time I’d get back up to the top, I’d drink in that view again. And swoop down the mountain again.

And there was a lot of joy in the swooping! It was different than being at the top, but it was still very, very good.

I wish that I could learn to enjoy the valleys in life with a little more “swoop”! There is so much to do and experience and gain in the ups and downs of life. I want the mountain top all the time, I want all of the emotions that go along with those moments of inspiration, but there will always need to be ups and downs in life.

And last night I realized all over again that Jesus is at the top and the bottom of our mountains, and everywhere in between!