Foolishly, I looked at a nearby hill and asked my much more experienced brother, “is that the top of the mountain we’re climbing?” After he’d stopped choking on whatever energy bar he’d begun to consume, he calmly informed me that no, that was a hill, and that the top of Mount Snowden was in fact somewhat nearer the clouds and that, if true be told, it was not visible from here because said clouds probably wanted the view from the top all to themselves.
Humbled, I nodded in admiration at the overwhelming knowledge and wisdom that my brother clearly possessed. (Okay, that was a lie.)
Outwardly, I probably said something more along the lines of “good point – can’t wait”. Inwardly, that same voice translated closer to “what have I done, I’m going to die, why did I ever think this was a sensible idea.” Then, as I was overtaken by a small child, I realised that the whole point of this was that it wasn’t supposed to be easy. It was a challenge, an adventure, a moment to push myself to my limits and see what I could achieve.
Several months earlier, I had sat in the same position on the same seat in the same house doing the same thing I’d been doing for weeks – marking books with instrumental music playing in the background. Those wordless songs had become the backing track to my life. Calm. Soothing. Reassuring. Safe. And I’d decided in that moment that this was not what my life was made for.
To live alive is to step out in faith, take risks and trust, really trust, that God is there.
When I became a Christian as a teenager I predicted revival, knew I’d be a world changer and, of course, calculated the precise the date that Jesus would be returning. I wrote songs that would be sung in stadiums and worshipped with my bedroom window open so I could convert the neighbours. Now I was sat at a desk, marking books. There was no challenge, other than persevering to the last book without consuming too many chocolates. I needed a slap. So I gave myself one and told my brothers I’d be climbing Mount Snowden for my birthday and would love them to come. I wanted to prove I wasn’t dead and wanted no way of getting out of it.
It was worth it.
I put my faith in my brothers mountain climbing experience and in my God for safety and strength. I didn’t want the anthem of my faith to be some romantic ballad, where I spend my entire time being held in the warm embrace of a loving Father. I want the anthem of my faith to be more like the Kaiser Chiefs song ‘I predict a riot’, where that same loving Father keeps watch over everything I’m doing with pride in His eyes, gently guiding the way and leading me from adventure to adventure, while I live in the assurance that He’s ready to hold me, the moment I call.
‘Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”’ (Hunter S. Thompson)
I refuse to be someone who only gives up their Sunday for my faith, when I should be giving up my life. I choose to live and try and be aware that there is always adventure waiting round the corner.