Listening: Be Held, Christy Nockels
Coffee: Trader Joes
After my first day at the Ritz-Carlton, my little (so, so little) humble abode for the next three days, I decided that I wasn’t going to waste time.
Usually when I think of rest I think of being horizontal. Laying down, watching Gilmore Girls, drinking coffee. And there is NOTHING wrong with that! That is definitely a form of rest for me, but I felt like I needed some soulful healing and that wasn’t going to happen re-watching Lorelei speed talk and fall in love with Luke (for the fifteenth time) or napping in phases of exhaustion.
So I got myself up and spontaneously (!!, not normal for a Type 1 on the Enneagram) decided to go to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Now listen…your girl loves the outdoors but HATES doing these things on her own. I see potentially being kidnapped or getting lost before I see adventure and seek it.
At first, I was just planning on driving. So I drove as far as I could towards Grand Lake until the road was closed due to snow (in October) and I ended up at Rainbow Point. I got out of the car and the crispness of the air caught my lungs mid breath.
I was mesmerized because I felt so small.
I felt like the head of a pin compared to the mountains and valleys that I was staring at, not only staring at but that I was in the midst of.
It was like that was what I needed to feel in that moment. I needed to be reminded of how I didn’t have to have everything together. I needed to be reminded that I couldn’t doubt God when I looked at that. I didn’t have to hold myself up because what I was feeling was pretty minuscule compared to the story that God was writing.
I got in the car, turned back around, and I drove in the opposite direction.
I stopped and stared and listened to lyrics of songs that touched my soul in the deep places while looking at the way the mountains were, the way things were golden and spacious and uninterrupted.
I drove to the other end of the park which lands you at Bear Lake.
Again, not in usual Celeste style, I got out of the car, traded in my riding boots for sneakers and grabbed my back pack.
I walked into Bear Lake (it’s literally right there so this wasn’t extraneous) but then as I saw where the water met the mountains, I also saw trail signs to Odessa Lake.
I started walking.
About ten minutes in I think I actually spoke out loud,
“God, this sucks. Why does this suck?”
But I felt like He was telling me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep walking, and to be expectant of what He was going to show me.
So I kept walking, in the snow, and I was way under prepared yet I didn’t mind. I didn’t mind one bit that I was walking in sneakers through snow, that my ears felt like they were going to fall off because as I kept walking I kept feeling. I kept praying. I kept asking God questions and pausing to let Him answer.
In the midst of my chaos, I was only on day 2 of my time off, I could feel Him whispering to me. In the moment, sometimes I wondered if I was crazy or if I was speaking as God, to myself, the things that I wanted to hear.
But the reality is none of what God spoke to my soul in these three days was what I really wanted to hear.
As I tried not to slip on frozen snow,
“Breaks are for the brave.”
As I kept walking and wondering where I was going to end up,
“Breaks are for the strong that are in it for the marathon, not just the sprint.”
As I got caught up in getting somewhere rather than listening and feeling in the process,
“Look around, to your left and to your right.”
I stopped and to my right, through the trees, you could see a valley of a thousand others, and peaks that kissed the sky in gratitude.
I kept going, kept praying, kept checking my watch to make sure I wasn’t going to get lost before the sun went down as I trudged on towards what I thought was Odessa Lake.
While I thought this whole time that I was getting to Odessa Lake, my landing spot was few and far between. I never made it. I think I got lost because of the snow covering the trail and I should have noticed when the mileage on the trail signs went up instead of down and then the trail signs disappeared all together.
But where I ended Light shone through trees and I said,
“God, is this really it?”
In those moments, where I stood in the spotlight of the sun, I realized that I self construct my own mile markers when there’s nothing for me to measure up to.
I’m a finisher, a completer. I work best with a due date and a time table. But that also makes me an accomplisher and a producer and when I don’t accomplish or produce I get anxious. I feel like I have to find my way into projects just for the heck of it, but then I end up with too much to do and not enough space to rest in the presence of God.
In everyday life, the lack of accomplishment can also ensue a feeling of guilt or lack of purpose. In these moments, it felt like I was trying to cheat God.
So I accepted the fact I wasn’t going to make it to Odessa Lake. Miles in, where the trees could only hear me, I began to laugh and I turned around. I slipped and slid back down the mountain all the way back to my car.
I took my time leaving. Stopping and breaking to take in the vastness one more time. I drove into Estes Park and got a burger. My words to the waitress were the only words I had spoken aloud to another human besides the park ranger granting me access to my soulful healing that day. All my other words, thoughts, prayers and laughter were exchanged with the Maker of all and the Rescuer of my very tired soul.
He rebuilt me a little bit that day. He reminded me that I was going to be ok, and that what was happening here after burning from both ends needed to become habit for a healthier, more soulful, and more abundantly Christ filled daughter whose primary cry is to glorify her Father.
He reminded me that if my core is seeking to give Him honor and glory then His will shall be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Read Part One: Regretfully Ready…
Coming up next: The Loft…