Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lessons on the Mountain

Lessons on the Mountain
my musings while climbing Grays and Torreys

1. Look up--a metaphor for life. When hiking, it's ironic that we all stare at our feet when the whole point is to see God's creation. Just like with life, it's safer, and easier, to focus on the circumstances around my feet--the boulders, the cliffs, the snow--instead of looking up to soak in God's majesty. Look up in the face of fear, and enjoy the view!

2. This wife learned a lesson in support. Erik got a pretty bad case of altitude sickness and could barely climb. I stayed with him every step of the way, even though I could have finished much faster. At one point, I could see my mom and friends at the top of the peak, relaxing, chatting, eating.....It's amazing to me that I can be so selfish. I was actually annoyed at Erik for getting sick. But God pointed that out quickly, and I learned a lesson in selflessness.

3. I am a doer; I accomplish stuff. Cleaning? Done. Friendships? Done. Prayer? Done. Grad school? Check it off the list. Done. While hiking, (and being forced to stop and wait for Erik), I learned a lesson in pausing. Pausing to enjoy the beauty, instead of just "doing". It might take longer, it might even require more energy, but pausing to enjoy the view was the smartest thing I did that day on the mountain.

4. Lesson learned: Oxygen is important.

5. Our bodies are amazing. When my lungs are screaming, "Stop!", and my heart is beating faster than it ever has before, all my mind has to do is say, "Ignore the pain; you can do it", and I keep on going. God has given me an amazing machine to use, and it's so wonderful when I remember all that I am capable of--mentally and physically.

6. Mountains, whether real or metaphoric, are tough to climb. Without my mom, cheering me on, and commiserating with me, I never would have made it. And on the flip side, without Erik needing me, I might not have done as well. Life without friends--mountain climbing without support--I'm not sure how it's done. I guess it all comes back to this: It's all about community.

Lastly, and I quote my mom, "Climbing a 14er is like childbirth--in the midst of it, you think 'never again!', but a year later, it's easy to forget the pain, and easy to remember the view."

Thanks goodness the pain fades, and all I remember is the amazing feeling of accomplishment, the lessons I learned and, of course, the breathtaking views of God's endless majesty.


  1. I love your mom's quote -- I was actually thinking that as I was reading your blog! I'm about to find out just how amazing my body is -- eek! :)

  2. Karen Miller (Denver, CO) wrote
    at 11:11pm yesterday
    Wow Liz. That was really good. You are and have always been articulate.
    Gee maybe you should write a book, or curriculum, or maybe even speak to groups! love

  3. I laughed when I read your lesson on selfishness because I would've reacted the same way. Whenever anyone ruins my plans or my focus of accomplishment, I too get this overwhelming sense of annoyance. It really is something I need to work on. Gosh, I can be such a rag.

  4. Praying for your sweet and courageous journey as a CO suburban cowgirl, mountain climber, and wife! I chuckled when I read your heart's reflection about the paradoxes of life - stay questioning and growing - your refinement is awesome! You go girl!

  5. One thing I've always admired about you is how you see a lesson to be learned in the midst of any situation... it encourages me to react the same way.