Crossing time

This time next week, I hope to have reached the mountaintop.

Between here and there is a steep and rocky ridge. Last time I crossed Crib Goch, it was on my hands and knees. My ambition, some quarter of a century later, is to stride across (at least some of) it like a woman, erect and unafraid; but if I crawl again, clinging to the earth and rock the whole way as for my very life, I will not be ashamed.

I realized rather late in the day why this trip has become a source of such anxiety, a needle of nervousness when I prick my plans upon it. The last time I was in that land was for a funeral. My father made the journey to join us not, I think, so much for the sake of the widow as because, in the dying days, an opportunity to share the same air should not be wasted.

The death of my father-in-law has changed the landscape to which we will return, and the journey has become, in its details and diversions, its stops and starts, layovers, inspections, security insecurities – it has become a metaphor for the passage of time, unseen and uncertain, and steeped in our mutual mortality.

My ambition is to stride across it like a woman, erect and unafraid. But if I fall to my knees, clinging to the earth and rock as for my life, I will not be ashamed.

Be to me a rock of refuge (Psalm 71:3)


About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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