Before the mountains existed,
before the earth was born,
from age to age you are God.
- Psalm 90:2
I have spent time in the mountains, and I have grown closer to God.
At home, my daily life is overly enclosed, overly paved, overly air-conditioned. Now, don’t get me wrong; there is no way I could survive in South Texas without air conditioning! And I am a fan of smooth highways. Still, when I spend too much time insulated from nature, my spiritual life suffers.
Wind in my face. The warmth of the sun on my shoulders. Dirt beneath my feet. It all helps me feel more fully alive, more fully aware of the wonders of creation. So just sitting out on the back deck at home helps. But for me, there is something special about being in the mountains. From the front yard of the house where I lived while in high school (in Terrebonne, Oregon) you can see seven mountain peaks that are snow-capped all year long, from Mt. Hood south to Mt. Bachelor. Ever since I left Oregon, I have realized my need for a periodic “mountain fix.”
Being in the mountains not only lifts my eyes, it lifts my spirits. There is grandeur, beauty, majesty, awe – all things that lift me out of myself and my petty concerns.
The sea has a similar effect, with its mysterious unknowns: what lies beneath? what lies beyond? My journey last week involved two ferry rides. After having lunch with friends, I texted to thank them again, and let them know I had reached the ferry on time. My friend responded: “Ferry rides are so magical!” Indeed they are; they take us from one place to another that we could not reach on our own.
Ferries also can keep us humble, reminding us that there is much about life that we cannot control – as I learned when my second ferry trip was delayed an hour and a half by fog!
Earlier this week, the book I use for morning prayer contained this petition: “Open our eyes to the wonders of your creation and help us respect the world you have given us.” I pray that I more often open all my senses to the wonders of creation. It is truly good for my soul.