Building an Altar on the Colorado Mountains - My Family Travels

The wind bitterly nipped my face as I picked up speed.  The snow-covered, majestic mountains surrounding me breathed promises of a higher power into the air. One moment …untouched by loud voices or the deleterious sound of car horns. It was protected in an aura of beauty. For just one moment, I was a small part of a wondrous creation that stretched beyond eyes and sought out the heart. My eyes shifted downward to the ice beneath my snowboard, and I knew the glorious moment was over. The edge of the board caught on a thicker piece of ice and I, only a novice at snowboarding, plastered an I-meant-to-fall look on my face. Always open to learning new skills, I was prepared to strap two feet onto a thin piece of adventure and risk damaging every bone in my body. What I wasn’t prepared for was the view.

Driving toward Pagosa Springs, Colorado on Christmas Day, I was nowhere near radiating joy or gratitude. Squeezing into the back of a truck for eight hours was not an ideal way to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Nevertheless, as the world outside the car windows morphed from the brown, thirsty desert spotted with the devil’s pitchfork-shaped cacti into a placid land of snow and The Rocky Mountains, something inside me yearned to be more than just a spectator of this beautiful state. Once we arrived and bags were finally unpacked at the Wyndham Pagosa timeshare, we began to embrace Colorado life.

My sister and I spent hours the next afternoon trying to build an igloo outside our condo. Not yet adapted to the elevation, my body became tired easily and my fingers and toes slipped into a numbing sleep. My sister pushed on, but I happily collapsed in the soft snow. The sky was a masterpiece like no other. The orange, red, and pink colors swept the large expanse of canvas as if dancers in a thousand bright colors were tapping away leaving only footprints in the sky. When I breathed out a sigh of peace, I could see my breath hover in the cold air and then wisp away. As I lay on this open field of snow with only my sister and the purple mountains in the distance, there came a sense of assurance I had never felt before…a declaration from God. Everything was still. Then, the mountains seemed to whisper what my heart was hungry for: “With God all things are possible.” I had never been in the presence of such life-confirming scenery.

After a family trip to the Wolf Creek Ski Resort on day one of our ski and snowboard adventure, my dad and I decided to go back for another round. We drove to the ski resort at six in the morning. We passed large farms with horses grazing in the ankle-deep snow. We climbed a mountain where I would build an altar…

Exiting the ski lift, my dad and I saw mountain peaks as far as we could see. But we didn’t just see mountains. We saw God’s face and heard him speak promises of His fearless and all-encompassing love. The altar I built on the mountain was one of faith; it was a metaphorical monument of how I had experienced God. So, as we glided down the mountain, I sometimes doubted my ability on that thin, five-foot long board, but I expected that. What I didn’t expect – what we as humans don’t deserve – was to find a love so sacrificial and perfect. A special day spent with my earthly father paved new understanding of my Heavenly Father.


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