We had such a great time camping last week. I stopped and figured out that in the last 43 years of my life, I have been in Yellowstone and the Tetons at least one time a year, except for two years. In the years when we lived closer to the parks, we have made many more visits each year. There is something about the mountains that is deeply spiritual for me. Maybe because it was in those mountains where I first became aware of the powerful presence of God. The beauty, the fresh cool mountain air, and the majesty capture me. My mind becomes very clear, my life finds focus, and I feel deep rest–without sleep. Last year, because of unexpected expenses, we were unable to make the trip. (The other year we missed was during the fires of 1988.) I realized as we entered the park this year how much I missed it, how badly I needed the rest. I realized how much I needed to stop.

It would have been easy to skip this year since we missed going last year. Somehow, it had been so long that I had forgotten how important it was. The length of time had erased the need; the urgency that is usually in my soul had dwindled. I had gotten used to living without that gift. But returning this year reinforced again how important that Soul Space is in my life. The cell coverage is almost nonexistent, and it takes real intention and a few miles to get to internet. That absence is a gift. It is just God and family–amazing. I have a couple of things on my desk that are from the Tetons: a mug and some huckleberry candles. These reminders of the trip, of the presence of God and the rest, will help hold me until next year. These reminders will momentarily take my mind back to those few days and that quiet time. I will use them to feel again in my memory the mountain air, the rest, and the presence of God. As I think about the impact that missing last year’s trip had on my life without me even recognizing it until this summer, I realize there may be other areas of my life in which I have allowed the important to slip away unnoticed: simply crowded out by daily events or unexpected expenses. I am taking inventory of those places of my life, and I plan on living a little differently.

I invite you to do a soul check this weekend.