Turning off a busy road in Colorado Springs, our weekend destination proved to be even more beautiful than I had imagined. I had two thoughts as we entered the property: “Remind me again why I wanted to leave Colorado?” and “We just entered an enchanted land from a classic storybook.” The grass and foliage were emerald green. The landscaping, immaculate. Giant red rocks were scattered throughout the site. A stream of rushing water cut through the land at the base of my favorite structure: a castle. No really, there was a 100-year old castle, all nestled within the Rocky Mountains. This place carried with it a sense of whimsy, drawing me deeper and deeper with each passing moment.
The retreat Closer was at Glyn Eyrie, a place owned by The Navigators. Our weekend was focused on prayer, reading, meditating, and relaxing. There was time to meet as a group, but the majority of the time was spent just the two of us. Stuart and I enjoyed resting, hiking, and discussing-a lot of discussing. There is just something about being away together in the mountains that results in unmatched refreshment.
In one of our sessions we had been instructed to find a rock and be ready to share its significance. The rock could represent anything with meaning to us individually or as a couple. Some people chose heart shape rocks to represent love. One lady chose a rock with stripes because it reminded her of Jesus: by his stripes we have been healed. Another couple chose two rocks, one that was soft and brittle and one that was granite. At the beginning of their marriage they could relate to the rock that would break with minimal force. As time went on they had become more like the granite, a material that can withstand varying elements and incredible pressure.
Saturday night our group read through 1 Corinthian 13:4-8. We each chose two words that stood out. I wrote down hope and endurance. Hope has been on my mind a lot lately; it keeps us moving forward. Endurance seems like an appropriate word to describe love. To truly love means to keep pressing on, for better or for worse.
Sunday morning Stuart and I took an early morning hike. This trail was one of the steepest we had ever climbed. The view at the top…breathtaking. What we saw cannot be described with words or even pictures but was worth every step, every gasp for air, every moment of difficulty.
These three events brought many lessons and experiences together for me: rocks, endurance & hope, and mountain climbing. Oh, how I love when lessons fit together perfectly.
The rock I mentioned is now sitting on our desk. It is significant for a variety of reasons but can be best summarized with this statement: on Christ the solid rock I stand. As I have eluded to many times before, living in Colorado was a very difficult time for me. I honestly thought when we drove away almost four years ago that if we never returned it would be too soon. I have no one to blame for that attitude but myself.
BUT (any there is always a “but” with God), I am in an entirely different place. Standing at the summit of the mountain we climbed represented our journey thus far in our marriage. Climbing takes hope, the hope of a view that will make all the laboring worth it. Climbing also takes endurance. The easier road would have been to quit. We had a beautiful view from the ground. Why exert so much energy and experience pain? Because we knew something better was waiting for us. And all this is grounded in an immovable object, an unshakeable being: Christ the solid rock.
And so it is in life. We must have endurance. We must have hope. In order to do this we must be grounded in something stronger than ourselves. Our foundation must be in the Rock. And all this is for the promise of something even greater than the peak of an earthly mountain.
Keep hoping and keep climbing, my friends, grounded in the solid Rock of Christ.