Friday, June 3, 2011

Faith in the Mountains

About a year ago I spent a few weeks traveling in the far East. There is something quite unexpectedly beautiful about India. Having stayed in the south where it is much cooler, and in a small village where the upkeep of flowers and gardens are possible, I experienced the India of which many have never heard. From there a dear friend and I traveled on to the small country of Nepal, a country slightly larger than the state of Pennsylvania. We stayed in Kathmandu for a few days before traveling to a small town in the foothills of the Himalayas.

During my short time in Nepal I attempted on three different days to make it to Mount Everest. All three days the clouds made viewing one of the world's most majestic mountains an impossibility. Day two we actually made it off the ground but as we flew within sight of the mountain the pilot announced that the clouds were just too thick. Never seeing Mount Everest was the great disappointment of the trip.

I recognized on that third day in hearing that it would not be possible to even leave the ground that the reality of my seeing the mountain was fading. There is probably never going to be another opportunity in my lifetime for me to travel to the Himalayas. But I live in hope that the mountain is there, through others' eyes I can experience Everest, and though I never saw it myself I believe, in faith, I have felt the spirit of the mountain.

Two days ago I arrived home from traveling to Oregon and Washington to meet our sisters in the west. I thoroughly enjoyed my time, especially with the sisters of St. Ann's in Tacoma. Sr. Martha Joseph has especially been supportive of me and my journey these past few months through her letter writing. It was a joy to sit down for a meal with her. She put a smile on my face as she passed me in the hallway saying, "Enjoy your life!" These women to me exemplify faith. I hope that in my life I can be as dedicated as these strong women have been in their own.

The idea of faith was deeply tugging at my heart as I experienced the west. For one thing as hilly and at times mountainous as Portland is not one sister I drove with EVER used her emergency break! That's living in faith! But in all seriousness I had a profound experience out west that has drawn me deeper into my own faith. Much like the Himalayas in monsoon season the mountains of Oregon were hidden from site. I spent the week hoping that the "mountain would be out" as they say. But it never happened.

Driving to the airport at what should have been the crack of dawn had there not been so much cloud cover, I thought of my time in Nepal. Neither then nor now did I see the mountains, but it does not make me believe any less in their presence. I believe because nothing has been proven to dissuade me. The mountains, in this past week, have become a metaphor of faith. Though it is unlikely for me to return to the Himalayas it is quite possible that I will return to the west, and hopefully seeing the mountains of Oregon will become a reality. But until that day arrives I live in faith of what's to come.

My faith in the mountains is no different than my faith in God. I know the vast and immense love of God in my life. There are times when the clouds are so thick that I could easily conceive the impossibility of God, but I choose to believe despite the things that tell me not to. Like feeling the spirit of Everest I too have felt deeply the Spirit of God. She has touched my life in so many ways that I cannot imagine a life without faith. Unlike Everest, I believe whole heartedly that one day I will see God, and that is what makes life worth living!

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