I recently went to Texas for a month long journey concerning the death of a family member. While I was there I missed my home in the mountains more than I would have imagined. After all, I lived in Texas for 35 years, raised two wonderful children, started my own business and had loads of wonderful friends! But death has a way of teaching us things we might never learn or appreciate otherwise.
I missed my mountains. I missed the winding roads and the sheer cliffs and drop offs. I missed the view more than anything, and I missed nature which surrounds me in my Cuchara home. At times, nature feels like my church, and the mountains a metaphor for God in all His majesty, and strength. This place is special in a way you appreciate all the more when you’ve been gone for a while.
We had lots to do while there. Hardly a moment was spent in reflection. First my family member was in the hospital, then in hospice. And then there were all the things involved when someone passes. Clearing out the house, the office, the car. Meeting with attorneys and advisors of all kinds. Moving Airbnb’s every week for a month was harder on us than anyone had anticipated. But it was a blessing to all be under one roof to tackle things as a unit and not a solitary survivor.
When the time came to head back to the mountains I came to the realization I was way too exhausted to make the 10 hour drive in one day. So, I decided to drive halfway the first day and get a hotel. I felt like that was as far as my strength could take me. It was a good decision and one that I was glad I had given myself permission to do.
Halfway is Dumas, Texas. It’s just north of Amarillo by about an hour and in the middle of nowhere. I have long thought this part of West Texas was desert, but coming home this time, gave me a new perspective. I realized I was so hungry for mountains that at one point I am driving through the plains between Amarillo and Dumas, and I realized there were hills and canyons! The road dipped and turned and for the first time I felt like I was getting closer to my Colorful Colorado.
I noticed while at the bottom of a hill, I couldn’t see much ahead of me. It reminded me of my life, and the month I had just experienced. So much of our lives we are up and down in hills and valleys and we cannot even fathom our destination. Life is that way, we don’t get to see the finish line unless we are on level ground. But how many of us lives our lives on level ground? None.
I also noticed while I was on the top of these “hills” and canyons that I could see the road plowed before me, but still I could not read the finish. It became obscured by the horizon. I believe that’s exactly the ways God wants it. He doesn’t want us to know the ending from the beginning. He wants us to know we live in the hills and valleys and we are supposed to take note of that. We are supposed to gaze upon the beauty before us and gives our cares to Him. We are made so that even while atop the mountains, sometimes we can see the long stretch still before us. However, we don’t get to touch the “brass ring” until it is our time to go. Sometimes we get to choose, sometimes we don’t. So, take your time while you are here. Savor the beauty and the blessings that are yours today. Stop looking ahead like there is something wrong with where you are right now. Now, this very moment, is all we have!
Everyone needs to come to the mountains once in a while for this very purpose. To relish the joy that God’s nature brings us. Pure, unbroken, strong, steadfast and plentiful. It is His gift to us for being able to steward this wonderfully, magnificent, gorgeous creation we call Earth. Mother Nature in all Her glory!
So stop trying to guess the answer. It will be there when you need it and not a moment before!
There is always, always something new to discover, just around the bend……