“…And I Will Remain There Willingly.”

The mountains always represented freedom to me. This is Mount Edith Cavell in Jasper National Park… one of my favourite sanctuaries in the entire world. The glacier up there? That's Angel Glacier… her wings spread across the mountainside as if to bless, to protect, to declare that there is holiness and freedom here.

When you have dipped yourself into pure turquoise and aquamarine, fought against the mountain chill, and then powered your body through the deep pools that seem as perfect jewels, you will know what freedom tastes like… smells like… feels like down part your skin. Yes, those are real colours. They are not touched up or edited in any way. Some of us who have seen and lived in these colours of freedom sometimes take them for granted, but I choose to look upon them as one who has never encountered them before. And the effect is bedazzling… that God would breathe these astonishing places of the world – so quiet, so strange, so encompassing – is a mortifying thought. God's beauty and freedom reaching to heaven together, beckoning those of us still yet chained to earth.

When chains seem to win. When they do not fall. I look to these places I have been, I have walked, I have swam, I have climbed, I have adored… places where I have encountered God in awe, quiet love and an assurance freedom.

The Rankin Family wrote a song ages ago (at least to me it seems that way; I was just a child when it came out!), which expresses the hope of freedom across the mist-covered mountains. It is a prayer of mine, and a prayer I offer on behalf of those in places where the chains are still winning… when I do not wish to return to places of suffering, I remember the last line of the song:

"And I will remain there willingly."

Chì mi na mórbheanna

O Chì, Chì mi na mórbheanna 
O Chì, Chì mi na córrbheanna 
O Chì, Chì mi na coireachan 
Chì mi na sgoran fo cheò 

Chì mi gun dàil an t-nàite 's d'rugadh mi 
Cuirear orm fàilt' 's a' chànain a thuigeas mi 
Gheibh mi ann aoidh gràdh 'n uair ruigeam 
Nach reicinn air thunnaichean òir 

Chì mi ann coilltean, chì mi ann doireachan 
Chì mi ann maghan bàna is toraiche 
Chì mi na féidh air làr nan coireachan 
Falaicht' an trusgan de chèo 

Beanntaichean àrda is àillidh leacainnean 
Sluagh ann an còmhnuidh is còire cleachdainnean 
'S aotrom mo cheum a' leum g'am faicinn 
Is fanaidh mi tacan le deòin 


Oh I see, I see the great mountains 
Oh I see, I see the lofty mountains 
Oh I see, I see the corries 
I see the peaks under the mist 

I see right away the place of my birth 
I will be welcomed in a language that I understand 
I will receive hospitality and love when I reach there 
That I will not trade for tons of gold 

I see woods there, I see thickets 
I see fair, fertile fields there 
I see the deer on the ground of the corries 
Shrouded in a garment of mist 

High mountains with lovely slopes 
Folk abiding there who are customarily kind 
Light is my step when I go bounding to meet them 
And I will remain there willingly 

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