When You Can’t Go to the Mountain

I was supposed to be in Idyllwild today.

All week, actually.

Every year for a million years, even before we were married, Hubby and I were attending the Bible School up there in July.

Most of the fam is up there right now, and I can tell you – without any peeking online whatsoever – what their cabins look like and where they sat in the dining hall and exactly how they will saunter from the general assembly in a half hour from now and head over to Gilboa hall for classes.

The visions of those “left behind” at the rapture and those cast onto a desert island (or a ferry dock) as the party boat sails away without them and others who have walked into the ice cream shop only to discover that their favorite flavor was sold out only moments before…are nothing quite this startling.

Alas, unlike stay-at-home moms, humble servants of the public can’t gallop off into the woods at will.

It’s different.

And so, I sit at the keyboard wondering how, in the first time since never, you bring the mountain to yourself, instead.

The atmosphere there is crisp in the morning, as you sip coffee and the pines streak early sunshine from Tahquitz. So I sat on my deck and sipped tea and admired the sun streaks in our oaks.

The rabbits look the same.

Then they do the daily readings and I’d make a note here or there for pondering later and after announcements, we’d all settle in for morning classes.

So I read this morning, enjoying years of notes, laughing at my twenty-year-old so very naive ones, and follow them along as they grew in understanding, things erased and clarified and re-connected into the bigger fabric of this message of life and love and redemptive glory.

I play in my treasure chest a while and humming, rise to put my house in order for the day.

This God we worship, He is here.

He is there, too.

He is wherever you stand, sharing this moment with me; there is nowhere that He is not.

The difference then, might be the putting aside of everything in order to spiritually feast.

It’s arranging your life in order to leave it, to wander a mountaintop with a huge family reunion, and just breathe Him in.

It’s a deliberate focus.

Up the mountain and down the mountain is like comparing Thanksgiving to plain old dinner.

The yearly gathering ends with a deep satisfaction, tempered with sadness that it’s over.

But – big surprise – my kids are still hungry the next day. For that kind of effort, it should feed us for at least half a year, right? Nope.

We pray for our “daily bread”.

We ask, standing next to Daniel who would never see his mountain again, for just bread and water. For enough.

“Whether I am on the Mountain or at the office, I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be content,” says paraphrased Paul.

So I think, as the party boat sails away, that being on a desert island once in a while can have it’s benefits, if only to prove that the humble daily dinner can become a feast with proper intentions.

Two things occur to me.

  1. There is more food available than a king’s table could hold, right here on the empty beach.
  2. I am not alone.

When you take the thing you wanted, the thing that was outside of you, that you could see and touch and want, and put the thing inside of you, you become the thing.

Are you what you eat? Education and opinions and disciplines and whatever it is that you decided was worth swallowing are continually changing the landscape of who you are.

His days are full of every element of Thanksgiving, should we choose to act like it.

This week can hold every element of the Mountain, should I choose to act like it.

It’s a deliberate focus in much smaller bites.

So I will connect with others that feel “left behind” and remind them that we are, indeed, also part of the Mountain, wherever we stand right now.

I will have meals with them and we will admire the gifts in our treasure chests and skip the elaborate planning and leave satisfied. Sufficient for the day.

The party boat is inside of me.

The Mountain is inside of me.

I will deliberately make space for study and I will deliberately make space for family reunion and I will deliberately make space for holding still and just breathing Him in.



And I am grateful.

Idyllwild Pines

Comment (8)

  • Kathleen King| August 3, 2016

    As I sit up here in Oregon, unable to attend either bible school (Idylwild or Rogue River…near Crater Lake), I am so glad much of my family is there and I look forward to hearing all the tales of the week. I bet their in the pool or at Cantata practice right now. In the meantime, I am taking time each day to read through “Who are you looking for?” by “Anna Tikvah.” It’s both a distraction as well as taking me to the “mountain.” The renewal of our faith, the lessons learned, the knowledge gained can’t be kept to ourselves when we come down from the mountain…it must be shared and put into action.

  • Rebekah| August 3, 2016

    I went every year as a kid, now it’s a bit of a hike to get there from Ontario Canada. I miss it! I look for photos on Facebook every year that I am not there. I love what you wrote, I could picture all of it! God truly is every where and I believe very soon we will all be together in his glorious kingdom!

  • Anonymous| August 2, 2016

    I am so lucky to have this eloquent woman of God working in our office! I’m sorry you aren’t there, but grateful for your beautiful words you’d be too busy to post in Idyllwild. Thank you, Jolie. I know they miss you.

  • Kim Brinkerhoff| August 2, 2016

    Really liked your comments today. Missed the week and have the last few years. Your thoughts ring true for me. Going up for the day tomorrow, but it isn’t the same as going for the week. Thank you!

  • Sarah H Graybeal| August 2, 2016

    Beatifully expressed Jolie…thank you.

  • Pattie Wolfe| August 2, 2016

    Good one, Jolie! One of my favorites!

  • Becky| August 2, 2016

    Lovely thoughts…thank you for sharing them!

  • Anonymous| August 2, 2016

    So true! He is everywhere. We must make sure He is included in every minute of our lives…to pause, reflect and be thankful.

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