Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Reflections on Our Week in Montana, Part 1

It was a full week without work, school, or kids -- just Rebekah and me. That alone is something we haven’t experienced in years. It was bound to be good.

We got to spend 15 hours in intensive counseling with Mark Odell while we were in Kalispell. Between the sessions, he gave us ten assignments which forced us to think, talk, and write. There is no way to explain it all here, but Rebekah and I got to work on ourselves and our relationship in ways that normally cannot happen in the midst of life’s demands. We both felt the pain of being “worked on.” Yet we both walked away feeling like we had been revived in many ways. I think of it as if our relationship has been rebooted in “safe mood” (computer talk), and now we have to keep it going in normal mode. We explored our frustrations with each other, but we quickly were guided toward focusing on our own respective contributions to the situation. That’s the painful progress. Then we explored how our pasts (all the way from childhood) really are controlling our present relationship. We learned tons about ourselves that we would never have discovered on our own. We went so much deeper than we ever have before in this area. Finally, we made some apologies, including a vivid exercise where we cast some “stones” into a raging waterfall at Glacier National Park, and then made some preparations for the future. All-in-all, it was a highly phenomenal experience which I highly recommend to anyone – even those who may not feel like they are presently in any kind of crisis. For us, it was the beginning of a process that will still take a bit more time. But it was an incredible beginning.

As if that wasn’t enough, we got to spend a day at Glacier National Park, one of the two or three most beautiful places I think I’ve ever been on the planet. The photos posted here and on my last entry are from there. I’m primarily a beach and ocean person, but Glacier just might convert me to a partial-mountain person. Unfathomable splendor!

We also spent one night with the Colbrys in Missoula. They pass along their greetings to all of their Vegas friends. We ate (of course), caught up on life, and shared some memories as we strolled the tranquil streets of Missoula on a perfect 70 degree night. I also ate my first Huckleberry Ice Cream (a Montana "must").

Monday, May 22, 2006

Beauty meets Purpose

I stood in absolute awe of scenes like this one last Friday. Glacier National Park is beyond words. Beauty is the closest word we have.

Before I saw this, while driving up from Kalispell, I figured out that mountains have a purpose. They store up frozen water, which upon melting, gradually releases the water to the lower regions where people live. Mountains like these continue to store the water well into June. Lakes like these provide additional storage for the rest of the summer. God provides year-round water to the inhabitants of the earth via mountain storage.

Usually, I just take views like this one at face value -- I consider their obvious beauty. Yet I had already been thinking about purpose before I saw this. So now I'm blown away that with God, beauty and purpose are often intertwined. I can think of many other analogies where something useful in the natural world is breathtakingly beautiful.