If I’m being honest, the past two weeks have been pretty difficult for me. After my friends left to head back to the states, much of my time has been spent working. In fact, there hasn’t really been much of a work/life balance at all. Much of this caught up to me towards the end of last week. I ended up coming down with a cold and almost reached my breaking point on Friday. I was just feeling overwhelmed with work, life, etc.
I didn’t really feel like doing much for the weekend, but I had already made plans to travel to the western part of Austria to go on a couple scenic drives, hikes, and explore a different part of the country. I left work early on Friday, jumped in the car, and headed to Grossglockner (one of the highest peaks in Austria). The road leading up to this mountain is also one of the most scenic drives in Austria. I tend to feel closer to God when I’m out in nature and I was definitely looking forward to seeing more of His Creation and to just feel close to Him, when at the moment, I feel so far away from everyone and everything that is familiar.
It didn’t take long, as I was driving along Grossglockner Road, before everything I was worried about, stressing about, and frustrated by seemed so small in comparison to what I was seeing. I’ve been hiking in the mountains before, I’ve been out in the Ocean, I’ve seen parts of the North African desert, but nothing quite prepared me for the size of the Austrian Alps. It was incredibly moving to feel so small next to something so big. I guess I was caught off guard by how quickly my perspective changed. In less than 2 hours, I went from being completely overwhelmed to completely at peace.
The trend continued as the weekend went on. Saturday, during a short hike at Kremmler Waterfall (the largest waterfall in Europe), I was again in awe of all that I saw. The shear force of the waterfall is what impressed me the most. Paired with my experience a day earlier, I was reminded just how big, powerful, and creative God is and was given a whole new appreciation for those particular qualities that are spoken about throughout Scripture. The fact that He is so big, powerful, and creative (to create things like the Austrian Alps, Grossglockner, and Kremmler Waterfall), yet still care about little ole’ me continues to blow my mind.
Then, yesterday, during my lunch break at work I happened upon this poem by Rudyard Kipling. It’s called “If”.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Sometimes it takes little things in life to bring about perspective. At other times, it takes crazy adventures out in God’s creation. And yet, at other times, it takes a combination of circumstances, nature, and well-written literature. Today, I’m thankful for my new-found perspective and the journey it took to happen upon it.