As I reflect on the year that passed while this blog sat silent, I realize that this past year has been one of the most momentous in several of our lives. Momentous enough that none of us has had the time to keep up with the blog and continue the discussions regarding our faith, science, religion, politics, or family. It has been a year filled with new ventures, new relationships, new challenges, and new accomplishments. In the coming years, as we continue living apart from one another, I can only hope that we can develop deeper sibling relationships still. In a time when our lives bring decisions, hard work, busy schedules, and tiring days, I hope that we can find the time to correspond with more discussions as we have in the past.
I expect that we all find ourselves at different points in the lifelong journey of a Christian and that as our lives diverge somewhat, I suppose that we are each excited by different promises from God. At the same time, as we each live out God’s purpose for our life, I imagine that we cross similar paths in the woods of Christianity and that we can each bring enlightenment to one another in what we’ve learned from those delightful, though sometimes challenging, paths.
As I think about what it will be like for us to live apart as we begin careers, start families, and settle in to the middle years of our lives I am reminded of my time spent in Montana, away from family.
Most of the time that you stay somewhere for only a short time, you feel as though you are in the place, a visitor of some sort. For me, my visit to Montana was very different than what I’d experienced traveling to other parts of the country. Obviously, Montana is beautiful – Big Sky Country, the Rockies looming in the background. But I have visited so many beautiful places – on the East and West Coast, the Great American West, the Appalachians – in fact, I have visited a good many of the scenic areas which make up the American wilderness. Beauty alone wasn’t what made Montana different. I did have some wonderful times underneath that wide, open sky. I made some very dear friends, I felt so free, and I spent most of my time outside taking pictures. It was a wonderful time in my life and saying goodbye was hard. But, I do realize that the danger of nostalgia is that you are remembering and longing for a past that didn’t really exist, remembering it as rosier than it really was. And I know it isn’t just the memories I made there that make it so different for me.
The thing about Montana that I have come to realize is that instead of me being in the place, the place got in to me. You see, I left Montana to come back “home” to family, but Montana never really left me. It’s still deep in me, waiting to be realized again. Sometimes, I hear it calling my name. The mountains, the big open sky …. I really can’t explain it any other way than that I feel like it stayed with me, changed me, and made its home there. Some days, it whispers to my heart and calls me home. Not the kinds of home that involves family and love. The kind of place that is your home because you belong there. It can’t help but remind me of the book (a favorite of mine), Till We Have Faces, “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing – to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —.” – C.S. Lewis
As Christians, the greatest longing in our life is for our Savior – and I see my longing for “the mountains” as a great parallel to my longing for Christ. Being out in nature – the kind of nature devoid of human interference with God’s creation – puts me into a revere and worshipful state. To me, mountains are the grandest that God’s wilderness has to offer, and I feel God’s presence and power the most when I’m looking out over a vista, or up at snowy peaks. So every time I feel the mountains calling my name, it also means I feel God calling to me. He reminds me that if I get out of the “city” of life and back to the “mountaintops” of His glory, then I will feel the ultimate kind of rejuvenation. The kind that only He can bring. The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing to reach the mountain – for that is when I feel God’s presence the most in my life.
As we continue to lay the foundation for our individual lives, I hope that despite our physical distance from one another, that we can still see the display of God’s grace in one another’s lives. I hope that we can still find ways to encourage one another, and to spur one another on in continuing to seek God through intellectual discussions.
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate in His temple.
-Katie, the elder sister