The Journey of Clingmans Dome
Clingmans Dome is the highest mountain peak in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park towering 6,643 feet into the Tennessee sky. Poised on top is a 45 foot observation tower where one can see seven states. On August 15, 2000 my wife and I walked the last half mile to the summit of Clingmans Dome.
Rising from the center of the earth where the rocks flow like rivers to the highest point in Tennessee Clingmans Dome towers over the earth. Silently and majestically the Top of World waits for the Climber to begin the strenuous journey to the summit, to enjoy the spectacular views it affords and to breathe the fresh mountain air.
As the Climber begins the assent the Creator joins in. Inch by inch step by step the Climber slowly make his way up the side of the mountain. The path is not easy, it is steep, the air is thin, and the sun is hot. “You’re not going to make it,” his tired and aching body screams. Yet with his artificial hips continuing to ache the ascent goes on. The Climber stops to rest and the view leaves him spellbound. “I must go on, the best is yet to come,” he says to himself. “You’ve got a long way to go,” someone says. “The going gets rougher and rougher,” another says. Words of discouragement weight heavily and doubt begins to wear away the Mountain Climbers determination to go on. His pace slows down ever slower.
Suddenly in the thin mountain air the voice of Creator whispers to the weary Climber, “The summit is gained one step at a time, do not measure your progress by how far you must go, but by how far you have climbed. Do not give up I am not only walking with you but I also am awaiting your arrival.”
“Are you sure you want to continue,” his partner inquires oblivious to voice of Creator? “I must go on,” he says gasping for air, “The pain of quitting is worse than the pain of going on.” And with words of encouragement from his partner the journey continues. Then suddenly Climber stops, looks at his companion and smiles, “We’ve made it! Just look at the beautiful scenery! It was worth every step!”
But the journey is not over there’s the 45 foot tower. Minutes later standing atop the world the conqueror looks toward his companion on the ground below, “Thank you for the encouragement and journeying with me my love! Thank you for never leaving me alone!” Then addressing the Creator he silently prays, “Thank you for giving me the encouragement to succeed! Thank you for never leaving me alone!”
Perhaps today you will face your own Clingmans Dome. It will probably not be a mountain in Tennessee. But it will be a mountain on your path through life. It may be the failing health of a loved one or your own failing health. It may be a financial mountain. It may be a broken relationship or a shattered dream. Perhaps you will face an addiction of some form. In whatever form it will be it will tower over your life and will cast a long shadow.
The ascent will not be easy but it will be one that must be made. There will be those who will discourage you. There will be times when you will seem alone. The steep climb and the hot sun will rob you of your strength. You will want to quit, but you can’t because the beauty of life awaits you on the summit. Look around there those who walk with you, they comfort you, and they strengthen you. Listen to the gentle whisper of the Creator as he beckons you ever upward to the top where life will become so beautiful, so wonderful it will defy description.
Do not fear the climb, fear only not beginning. Never think you can not succeed for success is gained one step at a time, no matter how small the step may be.
“It is the Spirit who gives life!”