Monday, February 23, 2009

God Passed By

The weekend wasn't our best from a parenting standpoint. Paige, who has been completely potty trained for almost 3 weeks, started pooping in her underwear and trying to hide it by "cleaning" it up herself. Our older three kids were just plain naughty. They fought with each other, were disrespectful, argued about everything, and obeyed only after they'd been asked 50 times. I came home from a photo shoot with the kids promising to NEVER go anywhere with them again and Curt wisely urged me to put on my running shoes and escape the madness for some solitude.

I originally had no intentions of going for a long run but I wanted to be gone as long as possible, so I mapped out a 10 mile run on the mountain behind our house. I grabbed my iPod, my running belt, some GU, a Gatorade, and my cell phone and took off.

The first six miles were one continuous climb, some switchbacks, some super steep hills, but the elevation on my Garmin kept climbing, climbing, climbing. I had the iPod cranked, sweat was dripping, and the steeper the climb, the quicker the irritation melted away. I crested the first peak about three miles in, then the road turned to gravel and descended slightly into this serene mountain valley. The forest closed in on me and as I soaked in the scenery, I turned my music off and reveled in the virtual aloneness I felt.

My labored breathing created a rhythmic cadence as my feet crunched the gravel below. I inhaled the smell of leaves burning and listened to a mountain creek babble through the trees. A dog barked in the distance. Birds sang in the trees. Saws squealed and hammers rang from a home improvement project.

The higher I climbed, the colder it got. I felt the temperature drop and thanked God that I grabbed a long-sleeved T-shirt at the last minute. I came out of the woods and gasped at majestic Mt. Hood, cloaked in clouds, fog, and the last rays of sunlight. She towered in the distance, grandly keeping watch over the piddly foothill (that I was climbing) below. The wind whispered then increased in intensity as it whistled, then whipped through the trees. The branches danced to its melody and I could see and feel the storm rolling in as I crested the final peak. I stopped for a drink and took in the panoramic view - valleys, vineyards, snow-capped peaks, forest, and mother Mt. Hood, presiding over it all.

The descent was steep. The bottoms of my feet started to heat up, wind-induced tears rolled down my face then dried before I could wipe them away, and the trees sang as I raced down, down, down the mountain. I kept hearing Jim, from The Man From Snowy River, say in his Australian accent, "Well Sir, you can no sooner hold back the tide than you could tame the mountain."

As our neighborhood came into view, I felt the first drop of rain on my face. The muscles in my legs were tight, new blisters were forming on my toes and my fingers were freezing cold, but my soul was refreshed. I couldn't help but think of I Kings 19 when Elijah felt abandoned, scared and alone. God told him, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."

God "passed by" me on my run. He sang a love song to me with the trees. He reminded me I am not alone in the thick forest. He dried my tears with the wind. He reminded me of His power in my life with His majestic Mt. Hood. He was my strength when I wanted to quit climbing and sit on the side of the road. He whispered "I love you" with every crunch of the gravel. He restored my soul.

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful post. I can feel God's presence just lying here, reading it. I feel His comfort too. Beautifully written.