Conversations With Life

a blog by Matthew J. Burch

Stepping Into Life!

Recently, I had an opportunity to take  week-long sabbatical. In case you do not know, a sabbatical is “A sabbatical year is a prolonged hiatus, typically one year, in the career of an otherwise successful individual taken in order to fulfill some dream.” In my case it was not a year, nor was it necessarily to fulfill my dream. It was however to gain perspective, and a vantage point about my life. Everyone needs that type of time to consider how and where one is going. I was grateful to have the time to engage & reflect, listen & hear, step & pause. One of the exciting events that I chose while on sabbatical was to climb what is called a 14′er (or fourteener) known as Quandary Peak. In case you have not connected the dots, I was out-of-town visiting the state of Colorado. Colorado has breathtaking views, clean air, and space to “take it all in.” Colorado has over 50 14′ers and all have views that extend beyond the horizon. Quandary is one of many and is a beginners 14′er with a gradual but intense incline.

As I seem to do with most events in my life, I experience them to the fullest measure, meanwhile I extract the symbolic meaning of them as I am engaging and participating in the adventure. Quandary Peak is a 14,265 foot Peak southwest of Breckenridge that begins in the trees and ends up above the treeline. The trail is relatively easy to follow until crossing the treeline and traveling onto the rocky path towards the summit.

As I was venturing upwards, I was remembering when I ran my first marathon in the year 2000. One of the key learnings then was, “anyone can run a marathon, one must simply learn what their pace is to complete the race.” Then, that was a good learning. Knowing what your pace is enables you to complete your race. Life is a race and you are competing with yourself. Knowing what your personal pace is enables you to complete it with the time that is commensurate with your own abilities and commitment. It is so easy to look around and observe the other competitors and compare yourself with what is perceived about “the other.” What an illusion! It goes to show, life is filled with illusions. Back to the climb.

What I learned while climbing was, “the ascent to the top takes place by “stepping into life” one step at a time! Rarely does any progress, achievement, or goal get accomplished while watching or sitting. Though there is a time and place for observation, there is also a time for stepping into the unknown “one step at a time” in order to gradually move into a more full life. I am reminded if the passage in Isaiah 25: 6-9

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine, the best of meats and the finest of wines.

On this mountain He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever.

The sovereign Lord will wipe away tears from all faces; He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.

In that day they will say, Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”

Step into Life, your life. Go to the summit, your summit. See the peak, the view, the majesty of His glory from your perspective One Step at a TIme! You will receive as you trust each step along the way!

Photos courtesy of Google &, Flickr, tab2space.



  • Tom Robinson on Aug 19, 2010 Reply

    The pics of Quandary Peak are awesome! They are a poignant reminder that life IS a race to the finish, and sometimes a ‘mad’ race at that! Once we get past our personal comfort zone of the tree line, the going gets rougher from there on. I’m learning to know my personal pace in the race so I can end it with a spirit of satisfaction and completeness. It is so easy (for me) to get caught up in the illusion of the ‘comparison mode’ as to how others are running their race. This causes great distress and sucks energy out of a person quickly and insideously.
    I’ll be (figuratively) climbing a mountain this weekend, but I’ll hold this image and the words of Isaiah 25 in my mind. I’m looking forward to that feast of rich food, the aged wine, and the best of meats that are afforded those who reach the summit of life’s peaks with God as their guide.
    Thanks for another great blog, Matthew. It has inspired and refreshed me anew. Grace and Peace.

    • Matthew Burch on Aug 19, 2010 Reply

      Tom, your reply has pulled more meaning and symbolic representation than I thought of initially. Thanks for commenting about the tree-line. So true, above the tree-line typically are the people who are truly going to ascend and arrive towards their destination-The Summit. We all have a summit to climb. Out particular terrain is unique to our personal story with all of the good/bad/incertain events included in our life. We don’t always get to pick what events are included. More importantly, we do get to choose how to respond. The old adage says 10% of life is what happens, 90% is our response. I believe that is true! Make it to the summit,above the tree-line for this weekends event. Shalom, Matthew

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