The Friendly Hills

To those who love the mountains they are like old friends. We return to them, perhaps after many years, and find they are just the same. There is no sense of rebuke or neglect for our absence; they are waiting to welcome us, and to give the same comfort and inspiration, strength and peace. The same—and yet different. It may be that in those years we have had many new experiences that have changed our outlook and made us feel that life has a new purpose. We find in the mountains a new charm. We have grown to find their deeper meaning, and they have for us new lessons, higher thoughts. In Science and Health (p. 511) Mrs. Eddy writes, "Spiritually interpreted, rocks and mountains stand for solid and grand ideas." Like true friends, the mountains never disappoint, but are always interesting, always leading us away from all that is small and base. They make us look above and beyond the world's strife and din, and though they stand firmly planted on the earth, their heads are above the clouds in the calm, clear heights. They are a type of all that is great and noble, and so they are worthy friends. As we climb to greater heights, even though it be over rough, stony paths, we gain wider views, and see things in their true proportions. When some high, lonely valley is reached, the hills seem marching with us. One is raised above the petty details of everyday life and one's own small selfhood and surroundings. It is then more clearly seen what it means to be a Christian Scientist.

Some may find more warmth and ease, more companionship in the valley; to the interested climber the way may seem more lonely, more difficult, as one goes higher. One reaches what seemed to be the summit, only to find a stretch of marshy land before him, the summit yet farther away, and the path perhaps lost; but the Leader of Christian Science has been over the mental path. She knew all the trials of the way. She writes in Science and Health (p. 429): "The final demonstration takes time for its accomplishment. When walking, we are guided by the eye. We look before our feet, and if we are wise, we look beyond a single step in the line of spiritual advancement." So, if we pause and look ahead, we shall see the path distinct again, make our way toward it, and perhaps find some stones and dry places to help us over what seemed a hopeless morass, while all the time the air is becoming more fresh and invigorating, and the view is widening. Range beyond range of mountains appear; there can be no loneliness in this world of high thoughts, and the companionship of the valley seems small and trifling in comparison. What looked to be such big difficulties from below are hardly seen from above. Then a sudden turn may bring us near the summit, and standing there and gazing all around, there is only freedom and dominion—the dominion given to man by God.

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