When I was eleven years old I came home from school with a letter. It was a long shot. It was a letter about a ski trip, with school, the following February. My parents were more eager for me to go than I could have ever anticipated, and it was the start of an eight year trend of winter ski trips to Italy and Switzerland.
In 2006, in Ravascletto, Italy, I fell in love with the mountains. In 2019, after six years off, I rediscovered my adoration of this part of creation.
The feeling when you wake up at an early alarm- wishing you could snooze it- only to remember you’re in paradise
The first view of the mountains above the clouds as you ascend on cable car number one of the day
The sound of a freshly bashed piste crunching as you glide above it
The blast of the wind against your face as you straight-line down a run that you should perhaps be more cautious on
The warmth as a mid-morning Gluhwein trickles down your throat (seriously though- when else is it acceptable to drink at 10.30am?!)
The chairlift chats, and snacks- planning routes down the mountain and occasionally being treated to someone else’s awkward conversation
The sensation as you unclip your boots and your feet know freedom once more
The knowledge that at the end of a 50km day, when every muscle in your body is screaming, that the only ones the shower will not relieve are the ones that hurt from belly laughing with all your favourite people.
Okay, you get it. Skiing is great.
As a kid, I always said that skiing wasn’t a holiday- it was a week of fun. You can guarantee that you will come back absolutely shattered and maybe a little bit broken (#rachloveshospital)
In 2019 I learned new truths.
I was lucky enough to visit Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland twice in eight weeks.
This was at the start of, and in the middle of what I can only describe as one of my most stressful terms ever as a primary teacher (think lesson observations, SATs prep, ofsted, parents evening, exclusion meetings, moderation, personal health issues).
I’m a big music fan.
Life should always have a soundtrack.
Every morning I ground my day in worship and in prayer. Spotify daily mix, linked to Alexa, wakes me up every morning at 5:45am.
I noticed a running theme of worship songs inspired by the mountains.
Not the old school ‘over the mountains and the sea’ ~Delirious, but new cool stuff.
‘On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!’
‘High on the mountain,
I will be lifting my voice.
And in the valley,
I will be dancing for joy.
In every season,
You are worthy.’
~Bryan and Katie Torwalt
It is easy to see the good in everything when in the mountains. When you’ve got your vacation mode on, when you’re in awe of God’s incredible creation it’s easy to have a mountain top experience on a mountain top!
I’m not just about the worship music- an eclectic mix is my vibe- and another fave is Ben Rector. He speaks to me in ‘I Like You’ with the lyric, “Life is not the mountain top, it’s the walking in between and I like you walking next to me”.
Sometimes, when you’re in the hypothetical valleys of life it can feel that your mountains are impenetrable, this often feels like the hardest time to be ‘dancing for joy’. It is at this point that I am reminded that the God of the universe cares about what I currently consider to be a mountain. In the book of Nahum, the prophet is letting us know that God is serious business, saying, “The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the God of creation made the mountains to enjoy, and that no mountain is too big for him to move.