the journey continues!! here’s an amazing blog written by my aunt, cara!
Switzerland has truly taken my breath away and stolen my affection. Outstanding views are never lacking, regardless of where you look or where you are. We have spent days on mountain sides with green pastures and white caps, trekked in the snow on top of mountains over 10,000 feet high, and wandered villages greeting locals with grüezi. Each day has left my feet tired, my heart full and me thinking the day cannot be topped. But each next day has surpassed the earlier one, somehow.
Gimmelwald, Switzerland is a tiny, alpine town that stands out above the rest for me. It is a town I may never forget and will try to figure out a way back to visit. Gimmelwald has a population of about 150 or so and one of the last villages left in Switzerland that has no car access. No roads leading into the village, no cars, just everything as it was when the village was created hundreds of years ago. A true Swiss town. It’s not very well known or visited, which made it even more genuine. The only faces we saw were a few people staying at the only 2 hostels in town, a old woman retrieving water from the fresh mountain water tap, and a man tilling his garden outside of his wooden cottage.
Gimmelwald sits on the side of a mountain about 4000 feet in elevation in the middle of the Alps. From the moment we stepped off the train in the valley below Gimmelwald, I couldn’t help myself, but to gasp “Oh, wow!” at every turn. Some of the highest mountains in the Alps were surrounding us. We took a gondola out of the valley and up to the tiny old town. On the ascent, we passed several waterfalls pouring out of the cracks of the mountains from the glaciers melting above. Falling so close to us it seemed like we could touch the water misting over the huge rock.
The beauty. The wonder. It never ceased. Vibrant flowerbeds surrounded the cottages. Green and white filled the horizon from grass and snow.
This place truly sparked wonder within me.
The fresh mountain air and glacier blue water that’s never been touched by corruption. The unalloyed backdrop of natural magnificence all around you. The unknown town filled with whimsical charm.
It is true beauty. The sort of beauty God intended us to see and experience at every turn in life. The sort of beauty that can only come directly from the hands of God.
As we walked down the stoned paths, the statement was made to my 4-year-old nephew,
“Crosby, look how beautiful the mountains are! Who made the mountains?”
As he skipped he said without a beat, “God did!”
“Why did he make the mountains, Crosby?”
With wide eyed awe and certainty, Crosby answered, “because God’s love.”
His quick and powerfully simple answer stirred within me. His love made the mountains and moved the mountains. Enjoying the mountains opened me up to enjoy a deeper experience of God’s love and I didn’t even fully realize it in the moment. The wonder, the reverence. It was God’s love awakening within me, not merely the beauty.
It’s restored wonder.
It is going to be difficult for me to leave Switzerland. I don’t want to cease exploring these mountains and villages siting amidst pastures and magnificence. I wondered if the people living in these towns wake up every day and experience the same emotions I felt walking through them for the first time. Do they appreciate how simple time is here? Do they appreciate how their hometown has stayed the same since it was originally created?
Maybe they do, but I wondered why I don’t. Why don’t I see beauty and reverence everyday? Switzerland may be one of the most beautiful places on earth, but that doesn’t mean beauty is only here.
There truly is beauty all around us. At all times because God is love.
The truth is the day we went to Gimmelwald was one of the hardest days for many of us. People were hurting, physically and emotionally and a lot of things didn’t go as planned. At the end of the day, I said to someone close to me, “funny how all of this happened today and it was the favorite day for a lot of us.”
Beauty can be a balm for pain when seen through the eyes of God’s wonder. Beauty can distract from the hardest of situations when beauty is seen as God’s love.
God is wonder.
I don’t want to miss opportunities to experience His love whether I am in the most familiar and usual of places. Or whether I am in the most unknown and magnificent of places.