Life is very different when Jill is away on her travels. Not sure why it is so different, but everything changes when she is not around. On Monday I was going to Oban to visit a supernumerary minister and his wife (what a blessing that was: to hear the wisdom of a couple who have walked the upward path for so many years and discovered grace sufficient for the journey). I decided to leave home early and climb a mountain before going to the coast.
I arrived at the foot of Ben More in the dark. I guess the gaelic translation of “big hill” should have been enough warning to me. It was a big one – 1174m is pretty high. It was tough to find a decent parking place (and I ended up walking a mile on the road) and then the way was up and up. Straight up. I missed the path because of the dark, so found my own way through the tussocks and rocks, tumbling over a few times as the rocks were slippery. I met no one on the way up to the summit, completing a scramble to the trig point.
It was dramatic. Swirling clouds and a gusty wind. A wild place. A place to encounter “the Other, the Holy One”. The way had been exhausting but exhilarating, feeling my heart pounding and my legs pulling, inspired by the views along Glen Dochart and up towards Tyndrum. The way had been up, relentlessly up and I thought of the uphill of ministry over the last four years; and the adventure; and the wondering; and the self-doubt. I did wonder about stopping part way up the hill and turning back; that is not an unusual experience for us walking this uphill way.
I found the path going down – and was guided through the rocks – but I did land another 4 times on the ground as everywhere was sodden and slippery. I had done some uphill though on the big hill – and I was ready for the rest of the day (though I need a coffee and a complete change of clothes at the cafe in Tyndrum!).
Peace be the journey.