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When I look out my window,

When I look out my window, this is what I see – the beautiful San Gabriel mountains (yes, and the 210 highway). The picture hardly does justice to their presence; their sheer, yet unassuming magnitude. How everyday they seem to quietly express a new quality of themselves, as if these huge, immovable mountains contain a dynamic life all their own.

For some reason I asked my mom to send me my college application essays this week. The only one I had remembered writing was about my dog, Charlie – the essay I wrote to get into Northwestern. But amongst the many essays, I discovered this one:

I almost hate the thought of having to tell my 17-year-old self that I would actually spend 25 years in the “mundane” flatlands of Illinois. I don’t remember ever feeling this way about mountains, or about the midwest…perhaps I exaggerated some truth for the essay – gasp, shock, horror! (Also, does Virginia even have snow-capped mountains? Maybe that explains why I got wait listed at UVA…) Or perhaps I’ve had this intrinsic draw and desire for mountains, subconsciously waiting in my heart for years. If so, how strange that I find myself here – in the San Gabriel foothills – because I can assure you that my 17-year-old self did not imagine living in Pasadena and going to seminary.

Perhaps, when I look out my window, these mountains have been their own character, shaping the story of my life more than I could have ever known.

Perhaps there are characters in each of our lives: subtle, yet persistent in directing our paths.

If so, what a gift to have been given this small glimpse, this insight, into my own unfolding story.


About Samantha Curley

Hi! My name is Samantha Curley. I live in Pasadena, California where I run a non-profit organization called Level Ground (onlevelground.org). I like to ponder, ask questions, and share stories about life, art, and faith.


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