HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
It is time to start revealing the themes of the blog this year. I can’t believe this is going to be my SEVENTH year blogging (my first “alphabet year” of A I wasn’t writing about it) so we are on the letter H.
My first H is my “word of the year” even though it is technically a phrase… it is a little bit of Italian from Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and the translation of it…The phrase is Verso l’Alto and it is roughly translated “upwards” or “to the heights”. So one of my focuses for H this year is “heights” and it will encompass two different yet deeply connected aspects of life and kind of cheats by combining to H themes into one: Hiking and Holiness. To explain this, you need to know a little more about the guy I referenced earlier…
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was an Italian social activist who was deeply involved in his Catholic faith through prayer and serving the poor. He loved art, music, and mountain climbing… so clearly my kind of guy. (I also referenced one of my favorite quotes of his in a post last year on faith, hope, and love.) He died quite young, in his 20s, but before he did he wrote “Verso L’alto” on a picture of him climbing a mountain- thanks to the disease he caught while serving the poor, it ended up being a picture of his final climb. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II, a fellow hiker and lover of arts who said of Frassati, “When I was a young man, I, too, felt the beneficial influence of his example and, as a student, I was impressed by the force of his testimony.”
Frassati once said “The higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ” Many believe he meant higher both in getting into the mountains, away from the noise of the everyday distractions and also higher as in further in his spiritual journey, closer to god. Once again, Pope John Paul II has similar feelings on the subject as he once said, “I LOVE THESE MOUNTAINS; up here one breathes with the pure mountain air the mysterious invitation to faith and conversion.”
I DO have a specific hiking goal for the year- at first I debated signing up for one or two official hiking challenges and still may end up participating in one of them, but in the end, as I was thinking about this theme for the year, I
landed on the goal fo 52 hikes in the year. They don’t have to be one a week (I will DEFINITELY be front loading and then hitting the breaks on this when the Phoenix summer months come so I may front load or else play catch up in the fall), and they don’t even have to be a set amount of miles or altitude gain to count. The point is to spend time outside on the trails either finding inspiration with a good podcast or playlist, or else in silence and reflection, or maybe even with family or some safe fellowship with friends (maybe lots of that if 2021 comes through as being better than 2020…)
Speaking of better than 2020— I’m hoping that my mental and physical health climbs higher as I pursue my mountain treks. So those may be topics that come up this year too.
Upward, friends… Verso L’alto.
Are there any heights are you hoping to look toward or reach in 2020?