Charlie’s Mountain

Posted: April 23, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Charlie’s Mountain

Easter long weekend came rolling along just in time. Megan and I had been working pretty tirelessly since we’ve first arrived in the Yukon in January and we were in desperate need of a long weekend. We decided late Thursday night that we would take a road trip to Alaska, and Haines would be our destination. Friday morning we rushed out the door to make sure we’d catch the hour long ferry ride from Skagway to Haines Alaska in time. After a whirlwind of packing and loading up kids, snacks, diapers, clothes, bottles, soothers, Ipads, drinks, and toys we finally turned on the truck and started our vacation. The beauty of the Yukon is once you are in the car, the vacation has begun. Simply driving out of town alone gets us excited to see the mountain ranges, lakes, valleys and wildlife. Every corner is a new adventure.

haineswalls

 

We finally got past Whitehorse which meant from that point on we were on all new ground for us. It was an easy drive as the road options here are limited so we drove one road, the Klondike Highway, which led us straight to the border crossing and into Skagway Alaska. The further we got from Whitehorse the more amazing the mountains became. A few moments in our rush to the ferry I found us at a crawling pace in the middle of an empty highway literally gawking into the skies at rock walls that shot straight into the heavens. Bends and turns, rocky roads and guard-less cliffs, we rolled along to our destination as the clock forced me to gawk less and drive faster. We finally arrived to this beautiful little fishing town but had no minutes to spare. As we pulled up to the ferry dock, we were able to finally breathe so with the few moments before the ferry boarding we jumped out and inspected the little harbour in the salt water port. Crab fishermen with their crab and shrimp traps, old and tired fishing boats taking rest, spools of rough fishing nets. Beauty 360 degrees around and our cameras did what they could to capture natures glory, but ultimately failed.

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After an inspiring ferry ride and priceless views we landed in the ever quaint and quiet Haines Alaska. Greeted by friendly faces and folks eager to offer us directions, (as roads had no signs and houses no numbers) to our Waterside Bed and Breakfast, we hustled to get settled in so we could explore the new world we had arrived in before it got dark.

kids

Portage Cove, Mud Bay, Chilkat River, cobble stone beach fronts and tired harbours. We were absolutely floored with this new landscape hidden in the cold corner of the world. A few days of treasure hunting, picture taking, hikes and long drives and our trip was coming to a fast end. We decided Sunday morning to find a church to celebrate the risen Christ in as it was Easter morning. Being in a world of new Megan, myself and our kids have become adapt to finding new places to worship in and this morning was only a little different, as this church offered food as well! We notice a free Easter breakfast sign on a midsized Presbyterian church and, while it’s not a denomination I’m used to we decided, for the sake of a free breakfast, to take the plunge.

 

As we walked into the antique basement the stairs creaked loud enough to scream “NEW COMERS”. A few elderly women came around the corner to greet us as we came down the steep incline. They welcomed us with enormous smiles and handshakes, and hugs for our kiddies. They instantly received us in for breakfast and pulled out the highchair for our littlest one. An incredible spread of warm breakfast foods awaited us (including grits), and with a quick raise of Megan’s brow I knew we were both thinking the same thing. ‘Great Decision!’break

We sat and ate while people from the congregation came to greet and welcome us to the church. We sat across from a wonderful white haired lady surrounded by her teenage grandchildren and she started to ask questions and get into our story. Finding out who we were and why we had come (as a result of God’s calling) to the north brought a tear to this dear lady’s eye while she immersed herself into real conversation with us for the short time we spent with her. She was a wonderfully kind lady who held no judgement to my untamed beard and shorts/hoodie combo, (while clearly the church maintained a more fundamental type of dress code). We spoke for a while and when I found out that her entire 60+ years had been spent in the west, and that last 47 years spent in Haines Alaska, I asked if she ever got tired of the beauty that was all around her.

hills 2hills

“Never, every morning the mountains are different to me. The seasons, the fog, the water, snow and ice, the weather, the colour… every day the same mountain shows me a new beauty.” Wow. I was so amazed to hear that. Surrounded by mountains her entire life and she never fails to recognize the beauty that has been created for us. She goes on to tell me that when her kids were young they had a teacher named Charlie. Every morning when he entered the classroom he’d point at the mountain behind and ask “Did you see the Mountain today class?” Eventually the town came to know the mountain as Charlie’s Mountain.

haines 2I couldn’t help but connect with her story on a different level. I told her that reminded me so much of Jesus. That the mountain, like Jesus, never changes. It never moves, never falters, never fails to be there. Every day his beauty is new and we can see him through so many lenses depending on our season in life. God provides for us a completely new view view of Him when we become parents for the first time, from when we were teens, or children. Through great loss and suffering we can see God present his greatness in new ways and different filters. From birthdays to graduations, funerals to weddings, the colours that shape our lives give us new and fresh ways to see God, His majesty and His beauty.

Like Charlie asked his students, do I ask myself every morning, “Did you notice God today?” Did I see his great truth, never ending, never failing? did I stop to take notice at the majesty, beauty and glory that is right in front of me, or have I become complacent. God I hope not. God I hope I see You in my children, my marriage, my work, my family in all my blessings. I pray I also see you in my failures, in my suffering, in my weakness and brokenness. Whether it be snow and ice, fog and rain, or green sunshine that mountain is still there, never changed.

Like Charlie’s mountain that stretches endlessly into the sky – God is unfailing and unmoving. He is the truth that is never changed, never falters, never fails. Each day, each heartache, each blessing and in every season we need to look to that mountain to see him in a new fresh way. I have been able to see God more clearly in the past few years in my life then ever before because for the first time I am willing to see him for who He is, not who I want him to be. From training to fight in Mixed martial arts, to driving through the mountains towards an unknown future God has shown me his unchanging truth in countless ways.

Often times in my life people will say in conversation “If God was real he would just make himself known.” Or “I’d believe in God if I could just see Him” oddly enough I don’t disagree, and I’ve said the same thing many times in my life in my doubts and searching for God. The beautiful thing is God HAS made himself known, and we are all capable of seeing Him. We’ve put a condition on God on how we want to view him and how we want Him to reveal Himself to us, and those conditions do nothing more than just limit our ability to see Him. Once I learned to remove my own stipulations and expectations of how I want God to reveal and show himself my world has been blown apart. I CAN just see him, He HAS made himself known. In every corner of our dying planet, every aspect of life and creation, every place of darkness or light, every moment of death and life… In everywhere, in everything I can see God working, moving, loving, building, pursuing. Calling out to his creation!

Look every day at Charlie’s mountain and you will see unspeakable beauty.

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