Our 1998 van served us well the climb up to 12,640 feet to Winter Park, CO. The mountains on both sides, in our eyes, are like summers before on mountains before. The richness of green, the smell of pine and cedar began the excitement of being in a space in time where Levi and Caleb could enjoy the thrill of driving their bikes down a crazy high mountain and test their skills that have been somewhat dormant for a year.
Keystone, Colorado 12,900 feet
A born and bred West Texan said to me today, “Been to Victoria and it’s beautiful, but I’d never want to live there. I’m a true Texan who loves flat: blue and brown. Green is not my color”. I laughed with him and his obvious contentment in his home.
Driving away after the 2 1/2 weeks of the Colorado Rockies we began the descent. I was amazed at the beauty and thought how I had missed the view of what was behind when we were working our way to the top. Looking back, we see beauty we missed the first time.
Going back to Canada I saw the beauty that I missed the many other times I’ve traveled the way. When people in Texas hear that I’m from Canada they always, and I mean always say, “It’s so beautiful up there”. I often reply that there are parts that aren’t so beautiful. I will change that response.
Driving from BC into Alberta I could hardly grasp the beauty. I was constantly interrupting the boys with, “Look at how turquoise the water is, look at how white the snow is, how purple and gray and ragged the mountains are, how many greens there are in the trees, how rich, how fresh, how blue, how… have I missed it all before?”. Our God did His great work in the Canadian Rockies. Then there’s the Alberta prairies stretching like long open arms across the horizon where the blue meets the green and nothing stands in the way. Where angry skies wait to unleash their tears onto blazing yellow miles of canola held up by fragile green legs; all of this vastness making it difficult to return my eyes to the road.
My memories were not this vivid. I am reminded. How. Beautiful. Is. This. Land.
And the people. There’s something unique and deep being with people who know and are part of your history, my brother and sisters
Glen and Sarah Stuart's children
and to those whom I’ve adopted as sisters.
Jann, our lives entwined before we knew how to spell entwined and became my “RCMP friend” that Levi and Caleb know will bring with the mention a story about stealing (me, not her).
Trudy and her family, whose connection runs across growing from quasi adulthood to walking through the years of watching our babies grow and becoming people whom we admire.
Typical time with Trud...tipping a canoe
Elna, the one who never lets me off the hook and shows me my inner face and teaches me to love what’s there, cause she does and “it’s all good”.
Julie, who asks the right questions and isn’t afraid to hear the answers and listens and breathes deep sighs with me and feel the pain/joy/doubt/hope/instability. Leah, with her excitement fresh off the plane from 1/2 a world away; contagious experiences that connect across miles.
Cathleen: time stands still with her and nothing else matters except now, and I’m forever late leaving the coffee bar for there’s always more to know and ask and tell.
Joan(ie) sharing what’s new after many adjustments in both of our lives; me moving away and her moving back. She’s the owner of my most quoted quip, “it’s not wrong; it’s just different” which has taken my stubborn brain through banking, medical and grocery store mishaps in the last year and partnering in my second most quoted quip, “it’s not where you are, it’s who your with that matters”. All ladies tremendous gifts from God.
But greater still is family. The rest that comes with being with the first gifts God gave me. No fake fronts or time of hesitant eye contact to see if it’s still there; the acceptance and love and depth of understanding that I’ve come to rely on for rest. Peace.
I enjoy being in two families as a daughter and sister and aunt and cousin and niece again.
I met new babies that will be loved as I was in circle of our family.
I’m not quite sure how humans can operate without this circle. I know they do, I’m just not sure how.
Looking back to Canada allowed me to look back at Abilene. It’s been just over a year in our new home of Abilene and we drove into Lethbridge on our one year anniversary of leaving Lethbridge. It’s been a climb for me. I’m not a hiker. I’d rather sit in a coffee shop with my book and look at pictures that others took on the hike than do it myself. Last year I am in the boots sometime carrying a walking stick, but mostly not.
I follow the path, looking down to make sure I don’t stumble over rock or root. I miss the excitement of the top, the details on the side, the beauty on the way. I only notice the obstacles that trip me or make me work too hard to avoid, or fight too hard to get over. But God in His grace gives me a second look and a second chance. I see what we have become. I hear the boys say they miss Abilene. I feel a draw to return to our home. And when we land, I know we are in the right place. I know that the climb has been hard, but when turned and looking back, it is beautiful and awesome and good.
God knows what He is doing, not letting us know the future. We would run from it, hide, lock ourselves away. We would never know the beauty of looking back because we would never move forward. We would never know how good He is if we didn’t trust in His goodness. He gives us spiritual markers, “a ha” moments along the way to remind us how far we’ve climbed. Stop. Turn. Look. The climb is part of the journey. Even if it’s long and high, the beauty that it’s grown in you wouldn’t there if you didn’t take the steps forward, in trusting it’s where He wants you.
(verses from a quilt hanging in the Gleaners lunch room).