Mountain Lesson

“… today’s ‘first lesson’ was in these little mountain paths.  I followed mine only a few yards further this morning & such an outburst of beauty came. You can never tell to what untold glories any little humble path may lead, if you only follow far enough.”                                                            Diary  13 August 1899

Switzerland.  Lilias takes a much-needed break from the work and weather of an Algerian summer.  The cool mountain air provides a welcome contrast to the heat and humidity of the crowded Casbah.

She begins her day with a walk along a mountain pathway.  The path itself is stony and rugged; the guiding fence in disrepair.  The excursion promises no particular enticements but fresh air and a distant mountain view.  But, then, advance a few yards – and she is greeted by an unexpected burst of beauty!

Who has not had the experience of rounding a bend, on foot or in vehicle, to an unexpected vista:  an open field of vibrant red poppies, the sudden dip to a lush green valley, a glimpse of lake shimmering in the sun.  One can only wonder what “untold glories” we might have missed by stopping short.

The same can be experienced in the unseen world of the spirit.  There are countless reasons for “stopping short” on the humble paths of the daily life:  Discouragement – not much action on such an ordinary path…  Fear – one never knows what dangers might lurk in the unknown…  Distraction – many are the enticements that lure one off course…  Weariness – hardly enough energy to take another step… Lethargy – who cares, why even bother…  Yet, who knows what “untold glories” one might miss by not proceeding a bit further along the humble path.

Often the greatest blessings come when we least expect it and in the most unexpected places.  Most often it is when we are following the simple path set before us:  the daily duty, the menial task.  It comes along the humble path of daily obedience – if we “only follow far enough.”  Oswald Chambers wrote, “The only way a servant can remain true to God is to be ready for the Lord’s surprise visits…  This sense of expectation will give our life the attitude of childlike wonder He wants it to have.”  (March 29)

My personal application of the mountain lesson is to intentionally cultivate a childlike sense of expectation – to be open to the possibility of the “untold glories” to which any little humble path may lead – if I only follow far enough.

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2 Responses to Mountain Lesson

  1. Kay Burklin says:

    Untold glories….could be another word for our beholdings??

    Trips going well…Cacophony of sounds, smells, and sights. Clinics saw over 100/day, today visited a center where women learn how to sew to provide for themselves, and jtomorrow the proposed site for the street kids home. Then off to home for children of lepers near the himalayas.

    Whew. Will take me a while to process.

    Gotta run. Are you all done with family visits? Saw some great pics on FB

    Love, Kay

  2. Darcy says:

    Miriam, you might enjoy reading this account of the humanist Petrarch’s ascent of Mt. Ventoux in Provence, which you can find here;
    He takes along his copy of Augustine’s Confessions, and reflects on the glories of nature (together w/ Augustine) when he reaches the summit. His mountaineering venture is considered a kind of pivotal point between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and the account of it forms a nice parallel to Lilias’ epiphany.

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