For the last couple of years, our family has taken a short end-of-summer vacation to Breckenridge. We love Breckenridge because it’s a real-deal town rather than a resort town. It’s chock-full of friendly, empty of pretentiousness. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or your fiftieth, the town puts a welcoming arm around you in a way that says please stay awhile rather than in a way that says please give us your money and leave, tourist. I’ve been to those places, too, and I assure you that is a thing.
A couple weeks ago, we wound our way through the mountains and down the valley again toward Breckenridge. Leaving just days before school started for the kids, it was our last summer hurrah. But this year, our hurrah had extra pom poms because one of my sisters, Sara, and her family were able to join us! Sara, her husband Chris and their two little ones were going to vacation with Chris’ parents in Santa Fe, so they decided to drive up early and hang out with us in our favorite mountain town. Win-win for all!
Renting a place to stay in the mountains is much cheaper off season, and it was doubly affordable since Sara’s family and my own stayed in the same condo. Having 5 kids with a mile wide age range in such close corners could have been tricky, but overall everyone did well. There’s going to be a few fireworks when you pair young ones possessing little notion of personal space with teens who feel entitled to have it in copious amounts. But in the long run, it did everyone good not to get what they wanted each and every time. I suppose it works that way for all of us, right? (Unless it pertains to Sara and I needing our morning cup of coffee and chai, respectively. Then all are in agreement that it’s positively definitely best to give us what we want each and every time.) (Also, Breck has a delicious spot to find both.)
On the last full day of our stay, we rode a gondola part way up the mountain and took a long, gorgeous hike. As one whose soul supercharges when out in nature, this was my favorite part of the trip.
For me, outdoor spaces are God’s cathedrals. The aspen trees sway like a choir caught up in their tune. The sky is stained glass perfection. The mountain path is an aisle leading to the front altar. I can here the rivers clapping and the hills singing. Creation is a sacred space where his abundance and grace is on grand display–if only we are looking for it.
The outdoors cannot replace fellowship with God, but it can be used by God in powerful ways . . . creation is nothing less than a sanctuary, a holy place that invites you to prayer. ~ Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God by Gary Thomas
As one in a particularly tender season, I find I benefit from sharing that season with safe folks. I find I benefit from keeping company with my tears and with my difficulties. And in powerful ways, I find I benefit from keeping company with nature–sometimes by myself and sometimes with dearly loved ones.
God is the One who binds up the brokenhearted, but he sometimes uses nature as the room to perform surgery.
As I keep company with God through his creation, I find the benefit in leaving all my expectations at home. My one simple prayer is Lord, let me receive from you. And the One who re-news and re-generates and re-vitalizes and re-, re-, re’s us will indeed pave the way for us to receive from him.
I know most people don’t have easy access to an idyllic mountaintop location. While I may have easy access to several, I certainly don’t have daily or even weekly access. My day-to-day life is lived in new suburbia where many of the homes are taller than the trees. So I walk around my tiny backyard or down the cracked sidewalk or to an empty field close by and just settle in to receive. I discover my ability to receive has less to do with where I am and more to do with where I am looking.
And I discover that quite often, a beautiful view is much closer than I think.
Have a wonderful day, friends. xo