Monday, September 20, 2010

Rest and Restlessness

Today we met with other parents (of students who attend the same university as our son) in order to get acquainted and pray for the students. One mother described the lifestyle of her student (a creative type) and I was startled as I realized she could have been describing my current lifestyle.

Could it be that I, more than double the age of this student, am still showing the same characteristics? I label them (non-objectively): Busyness. Lack of focus. Absence of discipline. Restlessness. Sleeplessness. Hunger for learning. A searching, searching, searching, for connection with other souls.

I have gained much from this search. I have lost much, too.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
There is only one place where I feel completely at rest. It is when I am in the mountains. I have fallen in love with the mountains of the front range. Certainly I am dazzled by the peaks of Yoho, Jasper and Banff National Parks, but my favorites are closer to home: Kananaskis Country, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Spray Lakes Provincial Park.

Saturday we took a jaunt, a long circle drive along Highwood Trail to Highway 40 and back via Highway 1. The clouds were low, shrouding the highest  peaks, the rest of the sky was overcast. Snow was on the grass and branches but the road was clear.

I am amazed by watching the mountains change as we drive around and through. What looks like a spire or needle of rock becomes a broad face as we come alongside. What is a stair-step silhouette from a distance opens into myriad layers of boulders and ledges. Depending on the set of the light and the time of day, the personality of the mountain can change from comfortable friend to threatening stranger. Of course, the mountains are not changing, my perspective is.

My husband commented, "You seem so refreshed by the mountains."
He is right.

The mountains ask nothing of me and exist without me. There is no work for me to do there. I walk in their shadow, photograph their splendor, hike their trails, watch for their wildlife. I listen for the wind whispering their secrets to the trees, the trickle to roar of glacial melt and spring runoff. I inhale the scent of pine, touch moss, marvel at the gold of trembling aspen in the fall. Every visit is new. Every vista a blessing.

They ask nothing of me but they share their bounty with me. They are doing what they were created to do. In changing weather and revolving light, they stand firm and remain rooted. Pointing up, lifting me to heaven. Changing my vision, providing perspective.
"I will give you rest." 
Yes, Lord, it is in the midst of your created beauty that I find my rest in you.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
Psalm 121 goes on to say that he never slumbers, he keeps us from all harm, watches over our life and over our coming and going now and forever. So even if my lifestyle has me sleepless and searching, he will always be found, he is always nearby whether I am in the mountains or in my bed and he will do for  our students what he has also promised us:
I will give you rest.
So what is my response to be?
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
I'm going to go do that now. Goodnight.

1. Wild horse on Stony Reserve at the start of Highwood Trail
2. Looking north from Hwy. 40 toward Mt. Lorette
3. Looking east not far past Highwood Pass


  1. What beautiful mountain vistas! Just thought i'd say hi - it was nice to meet you at conference. I'm 'following' you now.

  2. Ah, Tracy, so glad you stopped by. So good to meet another sister in Christ. I think we could be fine friends if I lived in Tumbler Ridge or you in Calgary. Won't heaven be fun when distance is not a barrier?

  3. I am so jealous!!! And your pictures are marvelous!!! Brenda C

  4. Thanks, Brenda. We should do lunch again soon!