On the Saturday before Easter I had reached a breaking point with Spring fever, I was suffering serious symptoms and I was close to not making it. Fortunately my wife gave me the medicine I needed as the whole family got out of the house and went for a hike. I had told my kids that we were going to go climb a volcano. They were a little nervous to say the least. In fact we had driven around the "R" mountain (or the north Menan butte) before and they were a little nervous. This time we were going to climb right up the thing.
We started out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. A full Camelback on Matthew and my backpack full of water bottles and granola bars. This was gonna rock like Metallica. Then we left the friendly and paved confines of the parking lot. My body was like "see this is why its a bad idea to become lazy between hunting seasons!" I had to agree my body was right. We were off however and we trudged along. Soon the gravel path gave way to the sand at the foot of the hill, then the sand gave way to the hard pack and rock and we were really in for it. About a fifth of the way along Rex my 2 year old says that his legs are tired, and , since mom already has the Colbster strapped to her Rex goes up and unto my shoulders for the duration (to my bro in law Neils who will soon be humping away on those awesome marches in boot camp I FEEL YOU!) so my 10pound pack becomes a 50 pound pack just like that.
As we were hiking we were talking and the kids were excited about Easter eggs and candy and were becoming a little tired and cranky. The Camelback somehow became heavier as more water was drained from it(??? Matthew ???) and I was toting my own dromedary hump as Rexy was the one drinking all the water. Soon there were some remarks made amongst the kiddo's and as I am the mater of negative reinforcement because I can't ignore it I began to lecture the kids. It is at this point that we reach the top of the hill. I look around and I am touched by the beauty of the surroundings, I'm proud of my family for our accomplishment, and I'm laughing to myself because the kids realized that the "volcano" is filled with rocks and sagebrush and not lava which I think they were kind of expecting.
I ask the kids if they understand what we "celebrate" or remember on Easter. Of course Matthew has the answer (he always does) and tells us all that it is the resurrection of Jesus. I tell him that he is right and then I explain a little about "good" Friday and the crucifixion as well, and explain that this weekend especially we need to show kindness to each other and serve one another. At this point Eliza correctly reminds me (she always does) that Jesus would want us to do these things every day. We start back down the hill talking a little more kindly, even though the kids are still tired.
In my mind I am thinking about climbing hills and the Savior. You know that Jesus climbed hills? He climbed not for fun, not for exercise, not for a hobby. He climbed hills to suffer and die. He climbed the mount of olives to take Upon Himself the sins of the world. While there He bled from every pore and shook violently as His body was racked with the pain of my sins, and yours. He climbed another hill shortly thereafter, this time not with a heavy pack to carry and water to drink. No, He carried a cross, and when He was thirsty he was given vinegar to drink. When He reached the top of this hill, I'm sure He took in His surroundings. I don't know if He was touched by the view or not. I do know that He was touched by cold hard nails that secured Him to the cross He had just borne up the hill. I imagine that as all this was unfolding He did feel a sense of accomplishment, and I know how He felt for all of us. Climbing those hills might have been the hardest thing that Jesus will ever do, and yet He did it, because of love.
Please try and remember this the next time you are struggling up a hill, I know I will.