Today we packed up and left PTS. It was funny because when we got in the car we were both really quiet as we pulled out of the parking lot and up the road, when finally we both kind of looked at each other and admitted we weren't really ready to leave but our time was up and it was time to head back. When I think back on the 5 days we have spent journeying to PTS and staying there I call it one of the many mountain top experiences. These experiences we have in life are often some of the most influential moments in our lives, however, I think it is important to note that the journey there is often like climbing a mountain. As Rosa and I drove across Pennsylvania, I noticed the rocks, jagged edges, harsh terrain, yet calm beauty in the rolling hills and mountains. Getting to the top of the mountain is often very difficult. There are hardships, struggles, pain, and even points where you get stuck and have to turn around and try another route to make it to the top.
My journey to PTS started long ago, and it was full of all of the above, yet the experience I had while there was full of beautiful moments when I finally felt like all of my backtracking, pushing through, trying new things, and hanging on when my footing slid out from underneath me along the way came together and I had conquered this mountain (well a small mountain but a mountain none the less). As the sun set over the mountains today my focus went from the journey up to the mountain to the view from above.
As we reached the top of hills/mountains the view was absolutely gorgeous. The snow covered land was reflecting the sun, the snow sparkled, and God's creation seemed so pure. The view from the top of my mountain this week was not as beautiful as the drive but it was spectacular, when everything comes together and you see the "bigger picture" life seems to be put together, the idea that your future is in God's hands and the work you are doing is the work of Christ in the world around you, means life is different. You are changed, the way you view the things you say and do changes. I have continued to be more joyful, more energetic, and more excited about the things to come in the next couple of years.
The reality of a "mountain top" experience is that eventually they seem to die out, the emotions start to fade, the real world gets in the way, and you start to stumble again. I do not look at this as a bad thing (not really a good thing but stick with me), I see it as I am coming off the mountain a new being in Christ. I am not the same person I was going off that mountain, and I am embarking on a journey over the next mountain in life, the difference lies in the fact that I do not climb the mountain alone. I climb the mountain with the Shepherd as my guide, with the knowledge, emotions, excitement I received on the last mountain, and I do so knowing that if I attempt to climb the mountain alone reaching the top means nothing.
As I prepare for bed before the journey home tomorrow, I leave this verse, one of my favorites because it is a reminder of the task that is before us at all times.
"But Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ"-2 Peter 3:18
We are always to be growing, we are always to be seeking, we are always to be Christ to one another, and we are always to be on this journey to the top of whatever mountain may be present in our lives, but we do so knowing that we are carried in the grace of Jesus Christ who is our Shepherd. Thanks be to God.