We have officially left bushes and forests behind and are headed into the land of rock and snow. It began raining this morning and didn't let up until the afternoon. As a result, the first half of the day consisted of a cold and wet journey across a boulder field and up a steep, snowy slope via handline. The fact that we had to ascend the handline one by one meant long periods of standing still, waiting in the snow. It was uncomfortable, to be sure.
However, the long wait also meant a little time to chat with Aly, who stood at the bottom of the whole deal, since I was last in line and stood with her as we watched a kid go up in front of me. I shared with her that I seem to be wrestling with myself today. The other leaders are all highly trained in mountaineering, so it is a challenge (albeit a good one) to fight the battle of believing that being loved has nothing to do with be seen as competent. It was good to talk to her and to voice my thoughts. It is indeed a battle within myself now, but I see a good deal of potential for growth in it.
One the journey up, I recieved my first glory wound of the trip: a black eye a la ice axe. Just like the golf club incident long ago, I was simply standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, and caught the tip of the axe as it swung around on the pack in front of me. They all seem to think I'm hard core for not being all that upset. I'm just excited that it wasn't my eyeball and that I'll have a good story to tell.
We had "snow school" today, where we learned how to self-arrest with an ice axe, should we ever lose our footing and find ourselves hurdling down a steep snow field. The importance of the whole thing became a reality when, as we headed up a long and ridiculoulsy steep snow slope, Fedya slipped and had to employ the arrest. I must admit that I was frustrated and afraid on that particular hill. I finally began singing "In Christ Alone" and just staring at things step by step, and it made things at least a little better.
We are camped tonight on a snowy ridge near some glacial water, a beautiful, idyllic blue. As I stepped away for a moment to stand on a rock overlooking the valley below us, I found myself using our theme verse for the week as a prayer. From Ephesians 3, I prayed that I might be rooted and established in love, knowing who I am, and that he would give me power to grasp the measure of his love. It was awesome. That passage is coming alive to me this week.
Tonight we ate the meal I was carrying, so my pack will be just a little lighter tomorrow. Excellent. Aly prayed with me before I made my way to the tent, asking God to grant me the sleep that eluded me last night. I go to bed now both thankful for her friendship and hopeful for rest. And of course, looking forward to tackling the girls awake in the morning...