by: Emily Meeks
When we emerged from the tree line, and into the open snow field, I knew immediately what I had forgotten – my sunglasses and water bottle. Normally I have an extra stash of sunglasses in my backpack waist belt. I knew I had filled my water bottle, but did I bring it with me in my rush out the door before dawn? I set my pack down to check, only to confirm both were missing.
The sun danced on the snow like bits of glitter my eyes could not fully filter. We don’t get many days like this in Pacific Northwest winters – blue skies, high sun and no wind. I squinted my way forward and diverted my gaze away from the reflection on the snow. I was unusually thirsty, craving water, and the best I could do was sips of hot chocolate.
Our snowshoes clomped onward in our pursuit of a frozen alpine lake. In summer, the lake looks more like a modest pond, only set in a stunning backdrop of craggy peaks in every direction.
When we got to the overlook above the lake we decided to find a spot closer down for a reflection. “Gospel or Morning Prayer?” I asked, hoping my friend would choose the full office.
On a frozen mound of snow, with our poles jabbed into the ground and our snowshoes flipped up, we managed one bar of service to read the words of Morning Prayer from Mission St. Clare.
“Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.” These words from Mark describe the healing of Bartimaeus, when Jesus refused to ignore the blind beggar’s cries for mercy. The words stayed with me as we descend to the basin of the lake – not able to fully look at the snow because of the glare and still longing for my Nalgene of water to chug.
The past few weeks have brought forth several transitions for me. As I reflect on Mark’s words, I am reminded of the blind spots that are there when I remain focused on what is fading instead of what is being made new. Bartimaeus was specific in what he needed and adamant in his ask. When his sight was restored, he followed Jesus on the road.
This image of “making new” fresh in my mind from discussions with my small group as we studied Revelation 21, verses 5-6 specifically coming forward: And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”
I’m not sure I would have paired these selections together to bring about a new affirmation for me but standing in the sun above an alpine lake, I begin to see more clearly what it is that God may be trying to teach me in this season, even though it can feel challenging and uncomfortable.
I can ask for sight to be restored – for what was lost to be regained. Jesus is calling each of us to continually follow even when we may not yet know or see the path ahead. We go forward with the trustworthy promise that in Christ, there is no beginning or ending but an eternal source of life that will sustain us even on the days we forget the very things we thought we needed most. This is a gift freely given to me. Let me respond with gratitude in immediately following with new sight.
Emily Meeks loves finding adventure and connection outside, especially while running, biking, hiking and kayaking. She attends and serves at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle.