Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Of Love and Mountains

Last Saturday my brother-in-law and I hiked Mount Timpanogos, a 11,752 foot behemoth of a mountain just a few minutes north of BYU. It was an invigorating, exhilarating, exhausting, rewarding experience.

During the hike, it stuck out to me how cordial and polite all the hikers on the trail were. Not only did they smile and say "good morning," but they would move to the side and wait while we passed on the narrow trail. Those who were already coming down the mountain path encouraged us, telling us that we didn't have far to go and that we could make it.

I was especially impressed by a comment I overheard on the summit of the mountain. Several groups of hikers sat around enjoying the view, exchanging small talk, and recouping energy to begin the trek back down the mountain. One man said, "Even if we didn't hike up at the same time, in a way we all did this together. We've shared something here."

A day later, as I was studying a talk from the last LDS General Conference in April, I understood why the hikers' cordiality and friendliness stood out to me. In his talk entitled "Love--the Essence of the Gospel," Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, compares our mortal experience to a journey. He states that God's great commandments for this journey are to love God and our fellow men. The hikers on Mount Timpanogos understood this, and had demonstrated love for their fellow travelers by sharing kind, encouraging words, by getting off the trail to let them pass, and even just by exchanging a smile and a greeting. As expressed by the man on top of the mountain, all of us were in it together.

As I reflected on these experiences, I came to realize how important it is that I love and serve all those around me. As President Spencer W. Kimball said, "We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve." If I am able to remember this principle and maintain an attitude of selflessness, then I'll be able to help people along this difficult journey, just as the kind smiles and words of encouragement helped me hike to the top of Mount Timpanogos.


Cindy said...

Don't you remember how lovely the hikers were last summer? (Even before they were helping to save my life, lol!)

Jason said...

I do remember that, I commented to Mahon that I think hikers are just some of the nicest people around! Maybe it's something about taking time off from a normally busy schedule to just go be in nature?