Hills surrounding Bath Spa, England

President’s Travelogue: Bath Spa, England

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Jay Smith, YTI President and Bridger Professor of Theology & Ethics

March 10, 2017

The rolling hills of Somerset, Devon, and Gloucestershire

I have landed this week in Bath Spa, England. It is located in Somerset county, the southwest of England. It is adjacent to the River Avon, and is at the southernmost corner of the Cotswolds. Other than the magnificent Georgian architecture, the historic Roman baths, and the general cultural attractions, the one thing that I continue to notice are the rolling hills. I have spent my entire time in England in this general part of the country, and the one thing that has begun to really “stick-out” are these lush rolling hills. Villages, market towns, and larger cities are located among these hills – and oh, the driving! It is like one continuous, gentle, roller-coaster. Nevertheless, my friends have navigated the narrow roads, the rolling hills, and the roundabouts like professional Formula One drivers.

In some of my walks with friends, we have navigated these hills. Like any hill, they extract a price going up and a bit less going down. One can become out of breath on the route up, and find out they have sore calves after coming down. In the long term, navigating these hills creates a healthy, hearty person.

The hills of life

The best life is full of hills. The average life is lived on a flat plane, and, I believe the unexceptional life is lived in the valley, with one never attempting the heights above. Sometimes these hills are mountains, sometimes they are mounds, but either way, they bring challenge, new vistas, and change. But this all comes with a price of breath and strength.

Lent leads us over hills

The season of Lent is like a season of hills, of valleys and mountains; more specifically, a climb up the hills, a trek through the mountains and down into the valleys…and up again. It is a season of testing, of reflection, and of improving. It is a season of finding the best in yourself through Christ after allowing the looming specter of the cross to search the nooks and crannies of your heart, and to root out the flotsam and jetsam of foolish living.

I have enjoyed the hills and valleys of this adventure, although I have also paid the physical price for those treks. In the end though, I am a better, healthier person. Thanks be to God.