When it’s the holiday season, I often get this question, “Do you want to go to the sea or to the mountains?” My answer is always, to the mountains. There is something about mountains that fascinates me. The journey up may be an easy hike aided by man-made steps, or a treacherous climb with only ropes or chains to cling onto. I’m not a mountaineer so I won’t boast about any great sense of achievement for conquering peaks. Mostly, during a climb, what spurs me on, is the anticipation of what awaits me at the peak. I’ve also learnt to plan sufficient time for every climb to include plenty of time to linger and relax at the summit.
Here are some ideas on what you can do at mountain tops.
1. Bring a portable burner, some water and instant coffee mix. Hot water really boils quickly at higher altitudes. Enjoy a warm cup of coffee with your climbing companions. Now, who wants to bring a coffee franchise up to some mountains?
2. Lie tummy down and go really close to the edge of the mountain, then look down. Alright, if you’re braver than I, you can stand and walk to the edge and look down. I’ve read somewhere that one can’t fall off a mountain (?).
3. Sing – make a joyful noise with your friends. The acoustics is really fantastic up in the mountains!
4. Pack a lunch. My favourite is rice balls filled with umeboshi (pickled sour plums) wrapped in seaweed.
5. Fry some noodles. No kidding. I saw a family doing that. They had a frying pan, noodles, eggs and canned meat in tow.
6. Simply lie down and look up at the sky.
7. Take a nap. The air is so fresh that it deserves to be taken in slowly and deeply.
After climbing for several hours, once they reached the mountain top, they would spend time praying (talking and listening) to God, and enjoying His presence. The mountain top experience was both a time of devotion and a time of delighting in the Lord’s presence. After they had received instructions from the Lord, they went down the mountain. Although they would be physically exhausted, for it would have been at least mid-day by the time they returned to the foot of a mountain, they seemed to be energetic, for they would act on those instructions immediately, or they would serve the people who were waiting for their return.
I’ve learnt that I can never just stay at the mountain top, in the glory of great experiences and insights, of worship and growth. I have to leave the mountain and face the daily trivialities of life. I will face difficult people who will test my patience. I will meet people who will reject or hurt me. I can become frustrated and give up unless I focus, learn, and do not give up. My saving grace is that my faith draws me closer to God. That way, I can look forward to going up to the mountain to meet with God daily, dwell in His presence, and be recharged and strengthened sufficiently to handle the busyness in the valley where I live.