- Sonya Leigh Anderson
LUUUKE!!! This is even more amazing than I imagined. I can’t stop smiling!!
I sent the text to Luke from The Glen the night we arrived, and when we saw him the next day he said Mom’s been texting like a middle school girl. Which is fine by me; the zeal of youth is just what I needed.
We stayed two days and two nights at the castle and I oohed and ahhed the entire time. It was a taste of heaven, too good to be true. Crazy beyond imagining how all of this started out as somebody’s home, smack in the middle of the Garden of the Gods. And as soon as I saw it I said it out loud. I think my God ate yours for lunch. Which is maybe true, when you hear the tragic story of the original owners and how they hardly got to enjoy the place. But these past 65 years it’s been restoring God’s kingdom as the Navigator’s Glen. And it’s everything I love. Mountains and gardens and spiritual retreat. I could have stayed forever – or at least all four days. But we had to settle for two.
No room in the inn on Saturday night, which meant we’d have to move on. We lingered with Luke for one last coffee on the castle terrace late Saturday morning before we turned in our key. (And Luke wouldn’t have minded an extra night either, it being the first bed he’d slept on in over two weeks, and a bed for a king, at that.)
I had a knot in my throat as we drove into Colorado Springs, and I knew for a fact the fairytale was over when just minutes after leaving I received a cruel text from home. Just teenaged nonsense, but the timing was brutal.
Later in the day we checked into our new dwelling, and – It’s not a castle. Kyle’s assessment of his first impression. And it’s not. But not bad either. Still in the mountains, and probably an easier transition back to home.
There was a camp song I used to sing as a kid, and I’m thinking about that song now.
I’d love to live on a mountaintop Fellowshipping with the Lord I love to stand on a mountaintop ‘Cause I love to feel my spirit soar
But I’ve got to come down from that mountaintop To the people in the valley below Or they’ll never know that they can go To the mountain of the Lord.*
And what was true then is even more true now. We can’t stay. The people at home need us.
This morning we drove up to Eagle Lake Camp where Luke spends his summer – at least the part of his summer when he’s not living in a tent on the mountain. And it was awesome, joining the kids at their chapel, meeting Luke’s friends over lunch. And everyone here knows it won’t be easy leaving this mountain in a just few weeks, returning to life and whatever is normal.
Luke’s been telling us stories all weekend long, most top-secret, for our ears only. Not even his buddies at camp are privy to the mysteries of RMC. Rocky Mountain Challenge and the biggest excursion at Eagle Lake Camp. I’ll say this much. There’s not one thing that happens during those two weeks out that this mountain-loving mom could handle. Not one.
So this morning Kyle and I are driving to camp just the two of us, after dropping Luke off before bed last night. How are you? I’m asking my husband, but I know the answer since I can read his expression and my own heart is feeling the same. I don’t know. I love where we are and I love who we’re with, but my heart still feels heavy. I know, me too.
Coming back down off the mountaintop to the people in the valley below – a kid who sends cruel words and angry faces in text messages. He’s broken, you know. But he needs us. We need him, too.
We can’t live in a castle in the mountains forever. At least not in this life. It’s the hard things that remind us this life is a foretaste of the real fairytale yet to come.
Driving back down the mountain from camp our sprits are lighter. I’m glad I get to do this with you. I say it, glancing over at my handsome husband. He looks younger than he did on the way up this morning, and I tell him. And just then we get back into cellphone range and there’s a text from home. This time sweet, and good news. God is good.
God is good, and He is faithful. The theme of the worship at camp this morning, and we even sang two of OUR songs – the ones God has used to anchor us into this story.
The afternoon is peaceful. I’m sitting on the porch of our not a castle – still with a glimpse of the mountains. And tomorrow morning early we’ll head east toward home, eyes glued to rearview mirror, hanging on to these mountains until they slip out of sight.
*Mountaintop by Amy Grant