The Mountain and The Valley

Every day an inspirational email comes into my inbox. Sometimes that little dose of positive affirmation is like a shot in the arm. I gobble it up. Sometimes it’s not such a big shot but I still look forward to reading it.

I’ll paraphrase what came the other day. It said that we shouldn’t try to recreate peak experiences but should accept them as gifts and move on. Also that we can’t stay on that high forever because it would no longer be a high, it would just be a normal everyday occurrence and would eventually end up feeling hum drum and boring.

“So, savor the peak experiences and compliment yourself upon your achieving of them, and expect more of them, and leave everything else out of the equation.”

I thought how true that sounded. Life is full of mountain peaks and valleys. It’s wonderful when we are high on the peak, licking the clouds, savouring the delicious taste. We’re full of energy and smiling at the world. Life couldn’t get much grander.

And yes, it’s true, we often want to stay on that peak forever. It’s a wonderful feeling. Why not? The peak might be higher than any you’ve ever been to before. You’re looking down at the world, waving from above, and it feels as though the whole world is cheering at you.

Of course the publication of any book would be considered a peak. You’re at the very top of the mountain. You climbed hard to get there— first the book, then the launch, the reviews, the signing, the hype. Believe me, it’s a great feeling. A truly wonderful gift.

But then, as my little email reminded me, we can’t stay on the peak forever.

How true.

Published authors always talk about what a wonderful experience publication is. I love hearing about other authors’ journeys, finding out how smooth or bumpy their path was, what obstacles they might have had to overcome, the valley they were in before publication, and of course that peak when the book was finally published. I have yet to read about the valley that comes after they’ve been high on that peak. Maybe it’s because no one wants to admit it. Maybe it’s because they think they will look ungrateful to the rest of the world. What have they got to feel down about their dream came true for God’s sake?

But I’m telling you that yes, I’ve experienced that valley. It’s that feeling of “Now what?” You’re book is out, the “hoopla” (as one author called it) is over and you still wanting to be up on that peak. The peak felt good, the wind blew through your hair, the sun touched the top of your head.  Your heart was warm. You loved the whole world. You smiled a lot.

What I’ve discovered is this, the sun can still reach you even when you’re standing down in the valley. It just has a little further to go to find you. As great as those peaks in life are, being down in the valley will help us to appreciate the mountain even more. No one ever chooses to be in the valley but it sounds to me as though we’re given little choice.

Sooner or later we’ll all enter the valley, no matter what we do in life or where we go. But you can get used to the scenery there if you take the time to look at what the valley has to offer, and stop lamenting about your time spent on that glorious mountain.

I am no longer lamenting. I’m waiting for the next gift to come along. I’m breathing in the scent of the valley flowers, admiring the trees and enjoying my walk. The sun found me!  I knew it would.

Maybe when we’re down in the valley we need to remember that it is just a valley, not a trench, and we’ll get our time on the mountain peak sooner or later.  Life goes in cycles. If it didn’t we’d be standing still, wouldn’t we? And tell me what ever got accomplished when we stood in one spot without the courage or strength to take another step?

Where are you in your present life, on the peak or in the valley? If you’d like to share, I’d like to listen.

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  1. I’m in a valley. A deep valley. Thanks for the reminder that there are more peaks to climb, as well as beauty to be found right where I am. 🙂


    • I suppose one way to look at it is if you’re down deep in the valley there is only one place for you to go and that it up. Hopefully, you will find some beauty right where you are in your present moment. Happy climbing!


  2. This is why I moved to Florida – no valleys. The only hills we have are bridges. Seriously – Highs & Lows are part of life. I’m thankful to have been blessed with more highs than I deserve, but I’m also thankful that I never have to walk through the valleys alone. Me – Right Now? Barefoot. Top of a sand dune. Smiling. (I smile way too much …. & it’s habit forming.)

    Nice thoughtful post – visit the Sunshine State – let’s see what ya think of the sun then! It’ll reach ya – guaranteed.


    • Dave, I feel pretty certain we all deserve the wonderful gifts that come our way, you included.. It’s good to hear that you have experienced many highs, and that you have someone to walk with you when you are in the valley. Sometimes having someone there beside us helps immensely.

      I don’t think it’s ever possible to smile too much. 🙂

      Glad I gave you something to think about.


  3. I feel like most of my life is spent on a plateau. Occasionally I fall in a hole and have to climb out, and so far I haven’t made it to the top of any mountain, but I can see the peaks in the distance and I never give up trying to reach them.


    • I think you’re right, Carol. We don’t always feel as though we are at the peak but that doesn’t mean we aren’t safe and secure & happy where we are at the present moment in time. Seeing the peaks in the distance is what often spurs us onward. Happy climbing!


  4. There have been some great highs and terrible lows at times, but in this season of my life I feel the ground is pretty level under my feet. I like the description in Deuteronomy 8 where we’re reminded that if we continue in faith we will see the working out of God’s purpose both on the mountaintops and in the valleys:
    “Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.”


    • Glad to hear that you’re on level ground at the present moment. Thanks for sharing this passage from Scripture. It’s is a wonderful reminder to trust in the Lord! Thanks, Carol!


  5. Laura, what a great way of looking at things! Valleys are a part of life… and without them, peaks would mean so much less.


    • Hey Gayle, I think you know a bit about those peak moments!!

      I also think we do have to be grateful for our time spent in the Valley. All these moments help to make us who we are. Hopefully, we are not just walking aimlessly around the Valley without a purpose. As Carol B. mentioned, we need to keep those peaks in our sight.



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