Even on the Cloudy Days, Live like the Mountain Is Out

Posted by Nathan Betts, on March 31, 2018
Topic: Blog

This piece was originally published in The Seattle Times on March 30, 2018. Click here to view.

Image courtesy of The Seattle Times. Mount Rainier at dawn (Elaine Thompson / Elaine Thompson / AP, 2011)

Just as the sight of Mount Rainier changes our outlook and disposition, I wonder what it would be like to live as if there were a God, alive, who brings hope, forgiveness and peace.

I have finally discovered my favorite coffee shop in Washington, and it is located in the South Sound area. The coffee has a deliciously bitter taste to it, and the creaminess of the cappuccinos is divine. But that is not what I like most about the cafe. Rather, it is the statement that they have emblazoned on the shop’s outside wall. As you approach the entrance you see the words, “Live Like The Mountain Is Out.” We South Sounders understand the power of those words because we know the difference Mount Rainier being “out” and not being “out” makes to a day.

Typically, when the mountain is out, the sun is also out. With the blue sky comes clearer visibility of the vast and varied colors of the beautiful landscape — the different shades of green, the snow-capped hills, and the foothills that have been touched by the sun. It is as if we have been given extra fuel in our tank for the day, a sense of awe and inspiration. We believe that sunny days are indeed possible.

As Washingtonians, we have been gifted with an abundance of vertical landscape. If you are not in the visual proximity of Mount Rainier, you might be near Mount Baker or the Olympics. There are no shortage of peaks.

During the winter months, I tell my children the mountain is hiding because that is how it looks and feels. When friends visit us in the winter months, I point out to them where Mount Rainier is, but for all they can see, there could be the Taj Mahal behind those clouds. Those days feel dark and heavy. That is what makes the coffee shop’s statement so inspiring. Living like the mountain is out is indeed a challenge because it captures the way we all want to live: with a sense of hope and inspiration throughout the day, even on the dark days.

In a sense, I get the same feeling as I think of Easter weekend. The mountain may or may not be out, but the trees are starting to bud, neighborhoods are bustling again with the upkeep of lawns and gardens, and fresh flowers are being planted. Really, Easter time provides an earthy picture of new life.

I’ve recently begun to wonder if living like the mountain is out shares similar meaning to the historical story of Easter. After all, the provocative Easter story claims there is a God who is no longer dead, but alive.

Just as the mountain being out changes our outlook and disposition, I wonder what it would be like to live as if there were a God, alive, who brings hope, forgiveness and peace. During a time in which distrust in all things is all-pervasive, Easter suggests that it is not fanciful to believe again, it is not naive to hope again.

I confess that, especially during the winter months, I have a tough time living like the mountain is out. I find it even harder to live every day like God is real and alive, but when I do, it is as if a trust in that other reality pierces through this present physical reality, and I experience a hope that goes beyond my current life surroundings.

This Easter, I put before you two challenges: Live like the mountain is out. But go one further: Read the Easter story, and imagine what it would be like to live as if it were true. What if it is?