Many years ago, shortly after turning 18, I went on a church field trip with our young, and very athletic, priest. We set off early in the day to climb a mountain, on a trail not quite built for beginners. As the hours wore on, the younger kids kept asking, “Are we almost to the top?” Every time, our priest would reply, “Keep going, we’re almost there.”
Each crest seemed like the peak, but instead was just one more scenic overlook along the way. Although they were not the ultimate summit, they were stopping points where we could see how far we’d come, and gaze at what lay before us.
The trip ended in a massive thunderstorm and a multi-jurisdictional rescue by federal, state, and local agencies when one member of our group suffered from heat exhaustion near the summit.
Though this story happened over sixteen years ago, I can still remember the struggle of the ascent. The false hopes of false summits, and the exhilaration of finally reaching the true summit.
In every journey, and along every path, we find waypoints as we struggle to reach our ultimate destination. Then, when we’ve reached the summit and accomplished our mission, we look out to see God’s creation from a whole new vantage point, and the new challenges that lay before us.
Reaching the summit is a moment to savor, but like those false summits before it, it’s just a stopping point. There is so much journey and adventure still to conquer.