We like to think that we can stay on the mountaintop, on the spiritual high. We are not meant to. The mountaintop moments encourage us, instill hope back in us for when we are not on the mountain tops. The mountaintop moments give us the opportunity to feel success, to breathe in victor, to see the expanse of our life journey — where we have come from and where we are going. They are moments, breathes, glimpses that encourage and empower us along the way.
We must come off the mountain top moments, back into ordinary reality. Most of us prefer to walk down slowly on a nice gentle slope. But there are moments when we fall down, like Spider-man in Spiderman: Homecoming
Spider-man has just caught the elevator when it first begins to fall. He has braced himself by his legs on both sides of the elevator shaft. He is in awe and shock that he actually succeeded!
Spider-man: Oh, I did it!
He has a moment of victory and breathe before the elevator shaft gives way and sends him and the elevator tumbling toward the ground.
No worries, the elevator gets caught on its way down and Spider-man hits the floor of the elevator. He is able to use his web-shooter and hold the elevator where it is at. This time, he does not celebrate. He holds on, works to get the elevator to a floor, and struggles to hold it.
As I said above, we do not get to stay on the mountaintop experiences of life. They are moments that we use to empower us, to dig deep into our strength and courage, to remind us that we can do it! Spider-man uses his moment of success to truly succeed in saving the day on his second attempt.
How we deal with our departure from the mountaintop, whether it is intentionally hiking off the summit toward the next one or free-falling off, uncovers who we are at the core of our being.
Do we leave the summit kicking and screaming, wanting to go back, stay in that beautiful high? Do we depart on our own, curious about what lies ahead?
Is our departure intentional, wanting to continue to grow, heal, expand, explore? Or is it unintentional?
When we reach the low point between the two summits, do we look around curious as to what we can learn about ourselves? Are we open to confronting our fears, our wounds, our own humanity? Or do we stubbornly work to get back to where you were?
Do you trust Spirit to guide you toward the next mountaintop? Do you trust the strength of your footing, your intuition, your power to get you there? Or do you give into despair, sinking into stuckness?
Mt Washington and me:
My dad and I on one of our hikes, hiked up the basin of Mt Washington. It was a tremendously beautiful day. I was on a high. You can see for miles from up there.
On the way down, I was extremely confident and had a tremendous amount of energy. I decided to run down the trail. It was wide and nicely sloped. So I ran. It was going really really well until the moment when my foot landed on the moss-side of a rock instead of the dry-side. Yep, you guessed it!
I remember thinking, “Oh crap…” ('I'll admit, I used stronger words than that) as I flew into the air. I remember being airborne. The next moment I was on the ground, 10-15 feet from where I slipped. I had quite a bit of momentum happening.
I had landed in the only position that allowed me to be alive and well and walk off the mountain. My body had somehow landed between all the rocks on the trail. No broken bones. No head trauma. A bit of blood from a scrape on my elbow. A lot of shock!
My dad and a few other hikers helped patch me up and I walked slowly and sorely off the mountain.
But I knew in that moment that Spirit had protected me in my fall. I could have easily broken a bone — leg or arm — if I had landed 1/2 an inch differently. I may not have lived if my head had landed 1/2 an inch differently.
My reaction to that fall was one of gratitude. Yes, I was a bit embarrassed. But, wow I was grateful for the protection of my Helping Spirits.
I made a choice to experience this moment, this fall into the valley, as a gift, a blessing, a reminder that Spirit was there protecting me when things did not go the way I thought they would.
Departing from the Mountaintop:
We are given a choice in how we experience those low moments in our life. Like Spider-man, like myself, do you chose to see them as second chances, as moments to learn, as moments to be reminded that there is a force greater than you that love and protects you?
Psalm 23 reminds us:
Adonai, you are my shepherd --
I want nothing more.
You let me lie down in green meadows,
you lead me beside restful waters:
you refresh my soul
You guide me to lush pastures
for the same of your Name.
Even if I'm surrounded by shadows of Death,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff--
they give me courage.
You spread a table for me
in the presence of my enemies,
and you anoint my head with oil --
my cup overflows!
Only goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in your house, Adonai,
for days without end.
Spirit invites you to embrace the journey between mountaintops. What can you learn about yourself? How can you grow and deepen your connection with Spirit?
Trust that Spirit is with you.
Know that Spirit guides you.
Feel yourself wrapped in the protective, loving arms of Spirit.
The next mountaintop view will amaze you…