This Rock Tells me my Dad Loves Me

A view of Banff from the top of Tunnel Mountain

It is amazing how the laws of gravity change when you grow older. I used to be a daredevil (more devil than dare!) And I loved the challenges of high altitudes. "The higher, the better" was my philosophy.

But that was long ago. My attitude has now changed dramatically. Now I say, "I'm fine where I am! Why do I even need to think about higher altitudes? I like to have both of my feet firmly planted on the level ground!" In fact, just the thought of climbing a mountain or going on a Ferris wheel ride makes my stomach shrink in size.

It is also interesting to notice that the centre of gravity in my body has been transformed almost overnight when passing from childhood to "middlehood" (As my younger son would say, "He's halfway to the grave!"). My former flat abdomen has transformed, and now my stomach earns the lofty title of "body part of the greatest proportion". That, and I don't even drink beer!

I also used to be overflowing with energy-not only on weekends, but on weekdays, too! Nowadays however, I must have an energy leak, because when Friday comes, I often fall asleep over supper. Sometimes I even wake up with a mouthful of peas and beans still in my mouth!

Then came the fatal morning in Banff when my sons eagerly shook me awake: "Papa, papa! Wake up! Mom only has to go to her conference for half a day today!"

My foggy brain didn't catch all of it. It was stuck on the fact that my kids now call their mother mom. It used to be "mommy", but it seems that as our height shrinks with age, so do our names! But they wouldn't let me reason it out:

"We want to climb Tunnel Mountain with you before we have to pick mom up!"

Climb . . . What? A mountain? I should have taken a sleeping pill last night! "I'm tired," I groaned. "I need to sleep all morning!"

"No papa! We won't let you!"

Boy, what terrific kids I have!

"You won't be scared on Tunnel Mountain! Even a baby could climb it with its eyes closed!"

Now I would really like to see THAT one!

"It's the mountain next to our campground, and it's only 1676 meter meters high! It'll be a breeze!"

The fog in my brain was beginning to be replaced by panic: "Will we need ropes?"

"No Papa! There's an easy path all the way to the top!"

We argued for another few minutes, but in the end, you guessed it, they won! Two hours later found me gasping for air, massaging my achy knees and stretching my sore back. One good thing about being an adult is that you have the right to stop whenever you feel dizzy or whenever it seems like it will be your last breath!

Unbelievable but true, this mountain was named in 1883 by a survey team sent out to scout the potential route of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Rocky Mountains. They recommended digging a tunnel through the mountain. This never actually happened, as they soon realized how much easier it would be to go around the mountain than through it, but the name stuck. Isn't human reasoning amazing? Now the mountain is famous for its unique view of the town of Banff, which, from this altitude, snuggles quaintly into its mountain-ringed valley. In fact, the altitude gives you a whole different perspective on all of the surrounding beauty, and once at the summit, even I had to admit that the view made the climb worthwhile. Well, almost . . .

Just before beginning our downward trek (my favorite part of the trip), each of my sons picked up a small stone and put it into his pocket. "This is to remind us of how much you love us!" they explained.

Their words touched my heart beyond anyone's imaginations. Suddenly the entire upward trek seemed worthwhile after all!

That same afternoon, my wife and my boys decided to climb Sulfur Mountain, a nearby mountain ridge. It surpasses Tunnel Mountain by 605 meters! It also had a gondola that goes to the top . . . But that's another story!

Time spend with family is really worthwhile. You develop tender bonds that no trials can evaporate. To make this possible however, you must sometimes cave in and do activities that other family members enjoy. You may not like these kinds of activities at first, but when you notice your kids' enthusiasm and their wide smiles, something will click inside, and amazingly enough, you will start to enjoy their interests as well!

I noticed that time is a luxury we have very little of. The stress and demands of life constantly keep us on our toes until we finally fall, exhausted, into bed. Minutes later (or so it seems!) you wake up in the middle of the night with thousands of demanding thoughts roaming through your mind. "Get away from me!" you scream. However they never really leave you. Stress is a constant, and it can only be taken care if we remit these worries in the hands of Someone capable to deal with them. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28 NIV)

If we let stress dominate our time, we will never have the opportunity to pursue anything worthwhile. This is one of the main reasons why I have decided to sneak around the demanding pressures of my life and spend quality, individual time with each one of my boys each week. During these brief moments, I discover what great personalities they both have. I also realize how different they are from each other!

One of the greatest services you can provide for your family is to be there for them and to listen to them. You have an awesome family, you only need to take the time to discover this fact! "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Tim 5:8 NIV)

"Papa, papa! Wake up! Let's climb Mount Robson! It's the tallest mountain in Canada! It'll be LOTS of fun!"

"What about the Mt. Everest?"

"Don't be silly, Papa! Mt. Everest isn't in Canada. Maybe on our next trip???"

Oh no!

Rob Chaffart

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