Climbing the Mountain--The Perspectives of Old Age
By Will Randolph
I love to be on the mountaintop.I am definitely not afraid of heights, the Higher the better. It is the climb to the top that is the part, I do not like. Being old is sorta like a mountaintop experience....the climb is a struggle and you still ache and hurt and are worn out when you reach the top, but the view from the top of the world can be worth the climb.
The prophets knew the value of being on a mountaintop. Moses went there to find God. Abraham went up to the mountaintop to get his bearings about where he was going. Jesus & Elijah went to the mountaintop to say goodbye to their followers. Jesus went there to teach. From the heights of a mountain, many things become visible that are not visible from the valleys of life, because a person’s perspective is limited and you are simply too close to some things to really see them fully. From a mountaintop you can see for miles and from the valleys you can only see a little ahead of you. From the mountaintop of Old Age you can see not only where you have been but in the distance where you are going.
When I have been hiking and backpacking often times I have reached a difficult hill. I walk a few steps then stop and rest a little bit, take a blow as I call it, to catch my breath. So it is with aging. We walk a few steps, and the climb becomes the obstacle that we have to overcome so we take a rest for a moment, then we work to overcome it and to continue up the path.
Often times when I take a moment I encounter those who are coming down off of the mountain after climbing it (usually from the other side). When I am able I stop them and ask them what it is like on the other side and on the mountaintop, to get an idea before going forward. Sometimes the information I receive is helpful, but sometimes the perspective is different than mine. For instance one time I was told it was really easy ahead of me on the trail and it turned out to be the most rugged terrain I had ever encountered. I saw the fellow hiker later when I camped for the evening and questioned him about his description of the trail. His response was interesting: “It was easy compared to some of the places I’ve been.”
Aging is a journey and a path that each person really follows for themself. Sometime it can be hard work, but it is always best when you have reached the pinnacle. Old Age should be our pinnacles and our perspective should be enhanced spiritually by where we now stand at the pinnacle of life here on earth.