Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Climb every mountain

Britain has a number of beautiful mountains, but my favourites are in North Wales. There is something about Wales that is so wonderful that, as soon as I know I have crossed the border into the country, I feel myself relax. As soon as I see the road signs change to half-English, half-Welsh, I feel all the burdens lifted from my shoulder. There comes a feeling that, if I could live in Wales for the rest of my life, nothing would ever again give me a moment of worry or anxiety.

When I was at school, I used to love the occasions when I had the possibility of going into the mountains. One such occasion happened on New Year’s Day, when one of the teachers took me and some classmates to the most famous mountain in Wales, Snowdon.

Most of the mountain was covered in snow that, in places, reached my thighs. It was difficult to make my way through such deep snow, but at the same time, it was very exciting. The sky was blue and cloudless, the weather so perfect that it was easy to forget that it was also very, very cold.

We had lunch sitting on the snow, underneath a huge, frozen waterfall. Some of the icicles were the length of an adult and, as they melted and fell in the warm sunshine, they looked like swords made from rainbows. They were magnificent.

As we climbed higher up the mountain, we reached a very dangerous place called Crib Goch. This was a very narrow ridge that we had to cross by sitting down and edging our way slowly across, with a sheer drop of several hundred metres on either side. It was difficult and I think we were all scared, but there was a tremendous sense of achievement in succeeding in doing something so difficult we had even risked our lives.

At the top of the mountain there was a magnificent view. We could see for mile after mile. Wales looked even more beautiful as the sun shone on the brilliant white snow. We were so thrilled that we had reached the top of the Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.

Suddenly, without warning, a heavy mist fell from nowhere. All of a sudden we were in the middle of what is called a ‘White Out’, when the mist was so thick it was impossible to see my own hand in front of my face. It was extremely dangerous. We couldn’t stay on the top of the mountain because we could die of exposure. If we climbed down the mountain, we couldn’t see where we were going and could easily fall and be killed. We made a decision and, very slowly and carefully, made our way, step by step, down the mountain to safety.

Climbing mountains can be risky. There can be moments of sheer joy and moments of fear. There are beautiful views, but there are also great dangers.

Living is like climbing a mountain. We never know from one day to the next what challenges we will find. Sometimes we will be feeling full of hope and courage. Sometimes we will be very afraid of what is happening to us. What is important is that we never lose sight of our goal. We must struggle onwards until we find our dream. We must not lose our trust in the God who is walking alongside us at every step of our journey.

Lord, sometimes life is like climbing a mountain. It is not always easy. I need your help. I want you to be with me at every step. Give me your courage. Give me your strength. Amen

God bless,
Sr. Janet