Mt. Bachelor, the ski and snowboard resort near our house, has been open for a couple weeks now, and I’ve been eager to go. I had recently bought 2 tickets through a special deal, in which all the proceeds from sales would go to the Bend-La Pine School District. I was thrilled to help out my community in such a fun way. The tickets are only good for this week, though, and from looking at our calendar, today seemed like the best day to go.
Before the drive up, I spent the morning rejoicing in this gift God was about to give us. Lindsey and I were going to get to go snowboard on an awesome mountain in this beautiful countryside, with relatively few other folks out there, considering how early it is in the season. As we started the drive up, I was grateful for our Jeep and its trusty 4-wheel drive, keeping us safe as the pavement had been replaced by hard-packed snow. I was sure expectant of a fantastic day!
Well. We got to the base of the mountain, after driving through denser and denser fog and fairly slippery snow. Parking the car, I could barely see past the first lift station. Lindsey checked the weather on her phone – gusts of wind at 26 miles per hour, dense fog and flurrying snow all day. We learned a new word to describe what the conditions were like: snizzle. Snow and drizzle mixed, all day. I was trying to keep my spirits up – God had given me this great day on the mountain, after all! – but after some thought and discussion, Lindsey and I decided to head back home.
God, what about this great day I thought You promised me? It’s clearly all messed up now. Yes, yes, it IS probably best to wait till Friday, when it’s supposed to be much clearer and calmer, but I really WANTED to go TODAY. What’s that? Oh yes, I love you too, God…
Wait a second. I’ve just told God that I love Him, and part of love is accepting each moment with the object of your affection. So, have I really been loving God today? Look back with me on what I’ve written so far…hmmm. A lot of stuff about being glad for what God was going to give me. Which is nice, of course – expectation of good is a great quality. But where was my acceptance of present good? Honestly, there didn’t seem to be much of that.
So now we’re halfway home and I’ve just realized that this day hasn’t been much about loving God…but thank goodness that God always loves me, and all His children! I’ve got plenty of opportunity to get back in action, now consciously praising God. I look around me. I’ve mentioned this before, but Bend and the surrounding Cascades Mountain range is a beautiful place. We live close enough to the mountain that driving up and back down is truly no big deal – and what a gorgeous scene we get to drive through. I find myself being very grateful for the inherent, principled safety of ALL on the road – not just me. I find myself enjoying the drive, instead of the destination.
When we reached home, I didn’t bound off on some revolutionary discovery or anything like that. I went to my office and after working for a bit, I imagined snowboarding. This time, though, I wasn’t imagining it in eager expectation of the good that is to come. I thought of something I love about snowboarding, and then I looked for how it is already present. For instance, I love the fact that when I snowboard, I have to be so involved in each moment. I can’t be afraid of catching my leading edge and falling, because then I won’t maneuver as I need to and then I WILL fall – or at least not have as enjoyable a ride. That’s a pretty clear application of what this blog has been about: the joy of living fully, right now. This isn’t meant to be an old, cliché humanist term. God is Life, and so a natural, exuberant aspect of loving Him is to live without fear. We read in the Bible, “Perfect love casteth out fear.” (I John 4:18) One way I read that, is that God’s love, perfect love, has already cast out fear – so I don’t need to entertain it or give any power to it. Even if I do become afraid, I don’t need to dwell on it. God’s love – good itself – is always here.
Another thing I love about snowboarding is that I get to practice and it’s always fun to practice because it means I get to go up the mountain and then back down again. Naturally, I’ll improve in my expression of the forever-perfect art of snowboarding, which is independent of limits. The fact that I, personally, don’t express the art of snowboarding perfectly right now doesn’t matter – the point is the continuing demonstration OF that art. Part of living that full life which I mentioned earlier, is a zest for persistence. I’m reminded of a statement Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, makes in her textbook, Science & Health, with Key to the Scriptures:
Whoever would demonstrate the healing of Christian Science must abide strictly by its rules, heed every statement, and advance from the rudiments laid down. There is nothing difficult nor toilsome in this task, when the way is pointed out; but self-denial, sincerity, Christianity, and persistence alone win the prize, as they usually do in every department of life. (462:13)
As someone who’s committed my life to healing, working in the full-time public practice of Christian Science, these sentences are bedrocks. I must have integrity – I must keep on going to the mountain – and the full realization of God’s creation is not subject to chance, but truly is the present reality. My thought and awareness is all that unfolds, not God’s love.
There are many more things that I love about snowboarding, and about this day (and every day!), so I’ll leave those for another posting. I’m so grateful for this clear lesson in acceptance of present good, rather than expectancy of future mystery, and to have it all wrapped up in such a graceful, thoughtful snowboarding adventure! As Mrs. Eddy said in her work The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, “We live in an age of Love’s divine adventure to be All-in-all.” (158:9) I’m so grateful to live this adventure, secure in the knowledge of the infinite, defining love of God – my Father, Mother, Friend.