Jonathan and I recently had the opportunity to spend some time in Switzerland. For four days, we hiked in the Alps, going from tiny mountain town to tiny mountain town, winding along glaciers and mountain passes, standing in awe of the incredible beauty around us. (If you're curious, you can see where we stayed each night here.)
If you've never been to the Alps, I cannot begin to describe them to you. I can show you photographs and you will think they are beautiful and inspiring, but they will not do the scene justice. Nothing beats being there, standing at the base of these incredible mountains, looking up with wide-eyed wonder at their stark majesty. We spent long minutes just staring at the views before us, and it got to the point where I felt just a bit ridiculous, walking around with my head tilted back and my mouth slightly agape. I realized then how small I am - it was a humbling feeling, standing in the shadow of such majesty.
At the very end of our time in the Alps, however, I noticed something interesting. We were in the town of Zermatt, which sits near the base of the Matterhorn, and still, the views were incredible. Still, I couldn't help but stare in awe and wonder at the beauty around me. But for the locals, the people who lived here day in and day out, it was a different story entirely. They were at home and comfortable, and so they walked with eyes straight forward or even down on the sidewalk in front of them. They chatted on cell phones. Riding trains or buses, they read books or skimmed magazines or watched movies. Surrounded by such beauty, they were inured to it so that it just became a part of the background, normal, every day.
I think in a way, this is a good thing. We were created to be surrounded by beauty and majesty, and it is positive and good that the Swiss live in the midst of it and are used to it. At the same time, however, I hope that they can take the time every now and then to stop and remind themselves of what it is they have, to stare in wonder and awe at the loveliness surrounding them.
Thinking back on it now, I realize that in so many ways, I tend to be like the Swiss. I am a daughter of the King, a follower of Christ, a child of Almighty God and as such, I am surrounded by exquisite beauty. But it is so familiar to me, so normal, so everyday, that I take it all for granted. "For God so loved the world", "This is the blood of the new covenant", "This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us" - words so well-known to me that I don't stop to think about what lies behind them. I forget their beauty, their power, their majesty - and the awesome God to whom they point.
And so, every now and then, I pray that God might open my eyes once again, that I might see the familiar and be awed and humbled at the view before me.