My legs were about to give out, and, oddly, my right shoulder. My head ached and I hadn’t eaten since 11,000 feet thanks to a combination of nausea and the lack of appetite that comes from altitude.
What made me want to do this?
I was more than three-quarters of the way up Mount Rainier and seriously regretting my decision to make a summit attempt.
I’d been in training for months. Up and down Mailbox Peak multiple times in a day, lugging my backpack and exhausting my perfect puppy. For at least ten years, climbing Rainier had topped my bucket list and I had finally decided to make my attempt.
I stood in awe of my God and his beautiful creation.
Training was, dare I say, fun? As my husband will tell you, I have boundless energy when it comes to being in the woods. So from November until the end of May, I spent every weekend in the mountains with my dog. Hiking up the various I-90 and Highway 2 peaks with my 45-pound backpack.
When I’m in the mountains, I feel a sense of calm, security, and closeness to God that I rarely find elsewhere. I look around at his beautiful creation (and let’s face it – we live in the prettiest area in the entire world) and I’m overcome with awe at his infinite creativity and the combination of power and fragility that is apparent throughout nature.
When I’m in the mountains, I feel a sense of calm, security, and closeness to God that I rarely find elsewhere.
It’s a chance for me to disconnect from the distractions in my every day life. The chance to unplug from my phone, work, problems, and worries. Winding my way up switchbacks and across streams and rock falls – with everything I need for survival on my back – I feel a range of emotions that are often contradictory: I am infinite and infinitesimal, powerful and powerless, completely independent yet connected to something much, much greater than myself.
Standing on Rainier’s summit last May, these and so many more emotions were at their peak. I stood in awe of my God and his beautiful creation.
Perhaps Henry David Thoreau puts the feeling best:
“It is difficult to conceive of a region uninhabited by man. We habitually presume his presence and influence everywhere. And yet we have not seen pure Nature, unless we have seen her thus vast and dread and inhuman…Nature was here something savage and awful, though beautiful. I looked with awe at the ground I trod on, to see what the Powers had made there, the form and fashion and material of their work. This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night. Here was no man’s garden, but the unhandselled globe. It was not lawn, nor pasture, nor mead, nor woodland, nor lea, nor arable, nor waste-land. It was the fresh and natural surface of the planet Earth, as it was made forever and ever.” (The Maine Woods)
By the time this issue reaches you, I will have left my role as Editor-in-Chief at BelPres. My husband and I are moving to Europe in the fall for job opportunities and will be spending the months before we move traveling. The last two-and-a-half years in this role have been wonderful for me, both professionally and personally.
I am infinite and infinitesimal, powerful and powerless, completely independent yet connected to something much, much greater than myself.
It’s been a joy to share the stories of this staff and the congregation. I find writing about oneself to be very revealing and it’s a blessing to learn about my coworkers and you, our readers, in the submissions we have received, as well as to learn about myself as I write for each issue. The themes, articles, and feedback have challenged me in ways I could not have foreseen and I come away from this role with many real-world examples of God’s rescue mission for our world at work.