On Tuesday I made the most of the first totally free day I’ve had in a long time. I went walking in the Malvern Hills, about an hour away by train from me. There is something about getting out of the city and up a hill that is always good for the soul. There isn’t much perspective in Birmingham – you can very rarely see the horizon and it is too flat and built up so that everything people have built just gets in the way. I’m not saying you have to climb a (really pretty steep actually) hill to get something of God’s perspective, but I know that fresh air and exercise plus beautiful surroundings is one of the best ways I have to clear my head.
One of the advantages of going on my own was the chance to take lots of view breaks (taking pictures is a wonderful way to get your breath back) without holding up the fitter members of a walking party. There are plenty of points on the heavy-going walk up from Great Malvern via St Ann’s Well where you might be tempted to turn back. But the views from the top on a fine day are breathtaking in another way. If you look in the right direction you can apparently see Birmingham but to be honest I didn’t try that hard.
The verse (and song) that I had on my mind about ‘I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from?’ may be misunderstood as pointing to nature as a source of strength. Wonderful though hillwalking can be, the idea that we can draw help from the one who made the mountains is even more powerful. I may blog again soon about how I’ve stumbled quite a few times lately and have the bruises to prove it, but I guess there are more serious ways that our metaphorical feet can slip. I honestly felt closer to God on that walk than I have for a long time, lying in the sun and feeling a gentle breeze around me as I properly rested on a bench. I also felt pretty inspired as I read through my tattered version of the Message and took some time to wait and listen. This time of year has some good opportunities to get out and about before it gets too cold. Maybe you might enjoy a quiet wander yourself?