Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Mountain

I discovered this week that there is a place in my childhood memory that hasn't disappeared like most of it. I was reminded of this place as I read a post on my sister's blog It's the mountain. The dairy farm that we grew up on was nestled up against the base of a beautiful mountain range where my brothers and sister spent many summer days climbing and exploring.

As I read Debbie's blog, I thought about the fact that all four of us at some time probably looked up that mountaintop from the third cliff that always seemed to be our destination and wondered what was beyond. It also occurred to me that each of us probably didn't go to the top of the mountain for different reasons. Debbie shared her reasons in her post, and as I've come to know her at a deeper level over this past year, I can now understand her reason.

I can only assume for my two brothers. Geoff, my youngest, is probably the one member of our family who would have been the likeliest to take off on the adventure. The truth is, he may have and just didn't tell us about it. If he didn't, it was probably because he thought about it and then got distracted and went and did something else. He is the adventure-seeker in the family. I can still remember hearing the story of him getting stuck on mountainside overnight as an adult when he went climbing by himself and found himself in a place where he was unable to go any further up or go back down. Even to this day, he's not sure how he got back down...except by the grace and mercy of God.

My older brother Frank would have had other reasons for not making the trek. If he had gone by himself, there wouldn't have been anyone to tell about the adventure. Frank loves to tell stories...and often uses great liberty as to the accuracy of the tale. If I asked him today what it was like to climb to the top and look over the other side, I'm sure he would tell a compelling story of what it was like. He would be able to describe the trail, how fat the huckleberries were that he stopped and ate along the way and far he could see from the top of the range.

I had my own reasons and as I grow older, the reasons become harder to accept. For me, it was fear. As a child, I would have convinced myself that there might be wild animals or that I might get lost. But the reality is that my fear was that if I did wander off and explore the mountain and get lost, no one would notice. No one would come and look for me. No one would care.

Life, especially these past five years, has convinced me of the lie that I believed as a child. My family have shown me in so many ways during the most trying days of my life that they do truly care about me. When it would have been easy...and reasonable...for them to turn away from me because of the poor choices that I made, they did just the opposite. They moved toward me and embraced and supported me.

Maybe the reason that I have such fond memories of the mountain from my childhood is because it is the one place where I was never alone...a place where at least one of my brothers or my sister were always with me.

1 comment:

Deb Shucka said...

Oh my. I would hug you hard right now if you were anywhere near. You've made me laugh and cry here. The gift of the four of us as siblings who really love each other as adults continues to make my heart swell with gratitude. It's one of the many gifts you've brought to us through your loss and sacrifice. I love you.