You’re probably reading the title of this post and thinking, what the heck does black diamond mean and why does it apply to your music conference experience in Tennessee? I promise that the full meaning of this post will be revealed the more you read on.
Being in a place that is oozing God’s handiwork really puts things in perspective for you. I love to start my day off by getting up early and doing my devotion. It starts my day off right, and it sets me up to have a great day. And I always do! The days I forget to jump into the book of Mark and read about how I can be brave for today are the day’s something goes wrong.
Yesterday was not one of those days. Thank God for that. I got up early yesterday to eat breakfast early, do my devotion, and get ready for the hike I had planned for later that day. The conference activities didn’t start until 4pm yesterday, so I still had the whole morning to just explore a whole lot more.
Speaking of seeing God’s handiwork all around me…
This is my view today as I write this.
This is in the Chapel of the Apostles, right next to the dorm I’m staying in this week. This is where all of our rehearsals are held during this week. It’s stunning.
After my devotion, I FINALLY got to use the backpack I got for Christmas for it’s intended purpose (which, if you’d like to know, is NOT carrying thousands of books for school). It’s meant for HIKING. Only my second favoristest activity in the whole wide world.
Can you feel my excitement yet?
Heck yeah I was excited!!! Hiking around campus was half the rest I came down here! (The other half was to learn lots, don’t worry KS).
So I threw some necessities into my fancy-dancy hiking backpack that I actually get to use as a hiking backpack for the first time and took off towards Memorial Cross.
It’s a pretty hilly walk to get up there. Let me tell you. But the views you get as you’re walking up that final hill make it totally worth it.
It’s a giant cross in the woods. On an overlook. Literally, what’s better than that?
I’LL SHOW YOU!
Here’s the part about the black diamond.
I love hiking, don’t get me wrong. And I consider myself to be decent at it. But I probably shouldn’t go rock climbing a mountain any time soon.
I started down the path (which was a green path, meaning it was easy), and I came to a fork in the road with a blue going left and a black going right. Knowing what you know about my hiking ability, I should’ve chosen left, correct?
I chose the black diamond hiking trail because it wasn’t very long and I had a feeling I was going to arrive at something AWESOME.
Well, I started the journey (completely missing the sign that said “danger of falling”) and hiked towards my destination. Very shortly after I started, I realized that “danger of falling” actually meant danger of falling! The path was about the width of a foot, it was VERY steep, and the right side of the path dropped off into the abyss. Never the less, I trecked on. Cause I was already this far, might as well keep going. I ran into spider webs hanging from the trees literally every 30 seconds. Which when you’re afraid of spiders and there’s a thirty-foot drop to your right is never a good thing.
But the trail was absolutely gorgeous. I got to climb over rocks and under rocks and through some rocks at one point. The farther I went, the more proud I became of myself. I was doing this! I was tackling this black diamond trail.
And just like my gut knew, 20 minutes into the trail, I heard a noise. At first, I thought it was just cicada bugs making a whole lotta noise. But as I got closer and closer to the noise, I realized that it was a waterfall!! Small, but mightily beautiful.
I tackled a black diamond hiking trail, as an amateur hiker, and I did not die.
And greatest of all, I had a blast. I can’t wait to get out there later this week.
We ended the night with a special service in the Episcopal church called Compline. Honestly, in All Saint’s Chapel, it was the most moving service I’ve ever been to. It’s primarily built around music, there are a couple of readings of the Bible, and there’s no sermon. It’s very short, only about thirty minutes. But thirty minutes of pure beauty.
We sat in the choir stalls up in the front by the higher alter. I wish I had been able to get a picture of it, for it was just stunning. 125 musicians all gathering together to share in a different kind of worship. The men’s choir one of the board members managed to pull together was outstanding. There’s something really special about only eight men chanting text at you.
The beauty here is so filling. I was telling my teacher that being here is sort of like being a college student/camper/youth group student all in one. Concentrated amounts of worship and the Lord like this does me a service, I can tell you that.
Sometimes, this is exactly what you need. For your soul to be filled by the beauty of nature, the goodness of people, and the truth of the Lord.