Hill Country


My Uncle Alex was one who would never reveal his age. Nor yours. He looked exceptional for his age, always 10 or 20 years younger but liked to keep it a mystery. So he coined an expression - ‘over 4 hills’ or ‘over 5 hills’. I can still hear him - he’d say something like ‘she’s got to be over four hills anyhow’ then would slap his thighs with both hands in a roar of laughter. Being only at two hills myself at the time, I didn’t appreciate all that went into ‘a hill’, how much sweat and moxy a decade was actually composed of. But of course time would take care of that...


Then there’s an expression Jean used recently of ‘pushing boulders uphill’. I like the vivid picture it paints and sure we can all identify. When nothing goes the way we want it to despite our grinding effort. Where our thinking goes something like: ‘well, that didn’t work but – the magic word. There’s definitely times of persevering, ‘climbing uphill’, like when I get down to do my floor stretches, but I’m talking about downright stubbornness crossing the not-working line. I know people who live their whole life going against the grain.


No wonder our current culture is so exhausted all the time. Why fatique is such an issue when we haven’t come close to the homesteading work our forefathers did.


Stress seems to be our common condition. It seems something is amiss if we’re not stressed about something, even before Covid. That could be why massage, spa treatments, and yoga centers have become big business these days. I remember as a new believer I couldn’t get over how ‘effortless’ things happened. I didn’t have to struggle and wrestle to get things done. When I stop demanding things, stop chasing that perfectly matched shirt, I’m astounded how magically it appears on a sale rack two weeks after I ‘needed’ it. Or how the right MS resources just appeared when I need them. Like how my name came up on the assisted living place months before it was ‘suppose to’ and threw me into a tailspin. Yet it turned out to be just in time for Covid. My burden is light and my yolk is easy. Learn of me. Wow.


And then there’s the expression ‘going downhill.’ Coasting. Sliding. Backsliding. Losing ground we’ve already gained. Or thought we gained. But isn’t life like that? Two steps forward, one back. In my naive 20’s I thought once I ‘got it’, I would have it forever. Fresh out of printing school in the 80’s I worked for the newspaper in Whistler making $10 an hour. I remember smugly thinking I would never have to pass this way again. There was no where but UP from here. Ha. How wrong I was! After 30 years in the workforce, I never did become a high wage earner.


Then there’s Fly Hills. A place where I learned to fly. After getting tired enough of going through the peaks and valleys of MS, I realized I didn’t have to. I could stay on hill. Sure there would be low spots and highlights, but nothing like before. I experienced a liberty and freedom I never knew existed. Spending more time learning about God, and doing things His way took me to higher ground. Where things that used to be the priority, like high wages and matching shirts, didn’t matter weren’t near as much as I thought they did. He took showed me something far better. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36


So here in hill country, come on up. The view is outstanding.

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