Finding God in all things—even in the slow lane
By Marvic Sammut
On the eighteenth of June of this year I ticked off a wish on my bucket list. I climbed Mount Snowdon… well; crawled up Mount Snowdon would be a much, much better description of my climb. I had had the opportunity of walking up Mount Snowdon about one year ago, but could not make it. So when friends of mine asked me if I would like to join them during the Snowdon Rocks event led by Mike Peters I said Yes!
The day arrived. I was aware that I might not be as fast a walker as my friends but I decided to still go ahead with the walk. I could always stop on the way up and walk back down, I thought. We started walking and my fears were soon confirmed. I certainly could not keep up with my friends. So I told them to walk on as I did not wish to slow them down. There were enough people around to ask help from if I needed to. Eventually, I joined my friends at Half-Way house, a Café’ half-way up the mountain, where everyone stopped for a rest and for lunch. After this rest I was still hopeful that I would be able to keep up with my friends from then on. But, after some distance, I had to slow down and again told my friends to keep going. I would walk on at my pace. During this second half of the ascent I found that I needed to stop more often than during the first half. When the incline became very steep, I was stopping every five to ten steps.
Of course, during the stops and starts I was going through moments of scolding myself silently about my slow walking pace. But I was also taking time to just take in the scenery around me. Its beauty gave me a great sense of peace. As I was walking up I was often encouraged by complete strangers. One lady said to me “Now, don’t you give up! I was going to give up but didn’t!” Another young lady who, with her boyfriend’s family, was accompanying her boyfriend who had difficulties with walking said to me “If he can do it, then you can do it!” I also started to notice that many others were taking the ascent just as I was doing; stopping to rest every few steps. All this encouraged me to keep going. I also slowly started to accept that my pace was with the slowest walkers and as I accepted this, I calmed down and even started to enjoy the climb. As I walked up the clouds, which had hidden Snowdon’s summit, slowly started to lift, so that during the toughest part of the climb I was able to enjoy the stunning views too. I later heard a person who had reached the summit earlier say that they had simply walked through clouds.
This experience made me reflect about life and about expectations that our society might place on us. But even worse than that is the sense of guilt and shame which we often have to live with if we fail these expectations, even when we have tried our utmost in our circumstances. My crawling climb up Snowdon also brought me to a point where I accepted that it was OK to be in the slow lane. And it was only because I was among the slowest walkers that I had the joy of meeting kind encouraging strangers and enjoy the incredible beauty around me. I would have missed all of this if I had been able to rush to the top. And it can also be exactly so in life. I can be forced to move into Life’s slow lane for various reasons. But this can also be a great blessing if I also force myself away from the destructive patterns of the “should have”, “ought to” and other negative thoughts and focus on the kindness of people close and far and on all that is beautiful in my life.
I finally made it to Snowdon’s summit, just as Mike Peters was starting his first song. The timing was perfect after all!... Or was it God’s timing all along?!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)