My granddaughter Miss Cass and I recently spent a weekend at a wonderful mountain cabin (ok, her mom and dad and brothers came along, too, along with her Aunt Jen), just for the fun of it. Miss Cass loves 'forest and trees', and time in the mountains. I noticed how happy she and her brother were to explore everything in sight, picking up rocks, pine cones, rocks, flowers and more rocks. They were blissfully unaware of the efforts of their parents to pack, plan and prepare for this wonderful weekend together. I especially loved taking little walks with them, around mountain lakes, watching as they gathered more happy memories and cool things (rocks!). Miss Cass is safe and happy because others who love her are beside her. At the water's edge we found cattails, which provoked memories of me as a tearful child when my own gathered cattail exploded in the car. I made a mental note: Sometimes, even grand mountain adventures are accompanied by disappointment. Still, Miss Cass and I both love the mountains.
Somewhere there’s a mountain
with flowers in the spring
I will take my shoes off
and wade the mountain stream.
And it’s a long, long way to walk,
but one day I’ll climb to the top.
(Somewhere There’s a Mountain, Jason Deere)
I recalled the excitement I felt as a child when my family made the trip to my grandmother's mountain cabin. As I grew older, I became more aware of the effort it took to climb the mountain. Still, I begged my parents to make the effort, because I wanted the gentle peace I knew I would find while I was there. I am not alone in this desire for peace-finding. My sisters and cousins also loved the sacred mountain cabin built by my grandfather. They, like prophets of old, and many others all over the world, have sought solace on the mountain tops. The Savior himself climbed rocky paths towards God.
"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."(Matthew 14:23)
Lately I have longed for the feeling of times past, a feeling of greater joy in climbing the mountains of life. I find too many mountainous days that are far too rugged for my weary climbing skills. When I stand at the base and look up, I am overwhelmed and wonder how I'll ever climb that far. I don't want to make the effort. I want the carefree adventure Miss Cass has, rather than the adventure in front of me, completely forgetting that Miss Cass is surrounded by peace because she knows her Dad and Mom are beside her and will help her when the climb gets rough or her gathered cat tails burst into fluff. Then the Lord gently reminds me: I, too, am promised strength for the climb! The scriptures are filled with those promises, but the words of God to Joshua are some of my favorite, “...I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Joshua 1:5)
If you had the choice between walking alone or walking hand in hand with God, which would you choose? Me too.
As I daily kneel before Him, He faithfully and constantly offers His hand, and I am strengthened. Strengthened along the rocky mountain ledges, carried through thickly forested paths where the light is dim. He lifts me over huge jagged boulders with strength greater than my own. When I choose to follow Him, sacred things happen in the mountains. On this day, with children and grandchildren beside me, I am lifted by the Spirit, and the peace returns.
Joyfully, I realize that the blessing of increased faith and strength, the nearness I feel to my Savior, have all made it worth the climb.
“I lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”