As we were driving down Route 66, we would pass through the mountains and then the valleys. Over and over, I would see a few magnificent houses that I can imagine have amazing views seated at the mountain tops. They would be followed by small and large communities built in the valleys below. I am sure both have their advantages.
As the pattern played over an over again during the long drive, I thought about how I love those mountaintop moments. Being able to see the world around from the highest vantage point is amazing. However, I also know what it takes to get there. Whether it be the winding road up and down, or a long hike up, there is usually quite a journey to get there. It takes some time to reach the top of the mountain.
In the few areas where there were multiple houses towards the top of the mountain, they were spread farther apart. I am sure in part to maintain the unobstructed views from their property. The roads became less traveled and less maintained.
I thought about how, even if able to maintain those mountain top moments, eventually you have to come down. It may be for food or supplies, for work, or whatever, but at some point I would have to come down. Even the mining businesses we saw in the mountains, the trucks eventually have to come down and distribute the goods.
I thought about the villages and towns that surround the mountains. That is where you find the stores, restaurants, jobs, and connection. Even the smallest towns how some type of conveniences located there. The houses were closer together. The streets are lit for safety. They have the view of the mountain, but the amenities of the world we live in.
In my Christian walk, I love those mountaintop moments where I have seen God work and have the tangible blessings that come as I draw closer to Him. However, mountaintop moments are rarely completely shared with others. Generally it is a follow the leader as you trek up the mountain as the paths are narrow. Others may arrive with me, but not everyone I want with me will be able to come. I know I would love to live there all the time. However, I know this side of Heaven, I may visit the mountains but I will live in the valleys.
In the valleys, that is where the work is done. It is where the people are. It is where life is generally lived. It’s in the valley I will gather the supplies and lessons needed to make it to the top of the mountain. It is where I learn what I need to do to get to the mountain top. It provides a place of rest for the times I try to make it up the mountain but don’t quite have the endurance to make it yet.
It is there in the valley that I realize my need for Him. It is there that my heart yearns for Him to move the obstacles that keep me from making it to the mountain tops. It is there in the valley that He walks with me and brings others to walk along side me to teach me what I need to learn to make it to the mountaintops.
So often in life, I tend to downplay the valleys. I want those mountaintop moments. Yet when I look back at my life, it is the lessons that I learned in the valleys that I remember. I know I really wanted mountaintop moments. I am sure I celebrated the mountaintop moments when I reached them. It is just hard for me to remember them, because I see the next mountain.
It is in the valley where I draw the resources that keep me moving towards other mountains. It is the valley lessons that I draw from to help myself and others. Sometimes the lessons I learn in the valley haven’t necessarily gotten me to the top of the mountain, but have been to help someone else along in their journey to the mountaintop. Other times I realize the lessons I learned in the valleys, help me with mountains down the road that I need to climb even though they aren’t helpful in the moment.
We all want to live in the mountaintop moments. We like to celebrate our successes and would rather forget about the valley failures. However life is generally lives in the valleys. We need the valleys to help us appreciate the mountains. The lessons of life we learn in the valley will help us to reach the next mountaintop. But every person at the mountaintop had a journey to get there and will eventually have to return to the valley.