The rays of the sun danced on the pristine snow as the gondola rose higher and higher. All was quiet, except for an occasional thump as we passed under another supporting tower. Below us majestic evergreens laden with snow bowed silently in reverence.
Reaching the summit, we disembarked. A breath-taking panorama of the majestic Austrian Alps surrounded us. We felt as though we were standing on holy ground. The spell was broken when I (Claudia) said, “Dave, how are we going to get back down to the bottom? It’s so steep!” “Obviously,” I (Dave) answered, “we’re going to ski down. After all, that’s why we took the twenty-minute gondola ride.”
Years ago, skiing had been our family’s favorite sport—but that was years ago. Now, we were venturing out once again. Out of practice, our ski legs—though weak—were determined to hit the slopes—as long as we hit them slowly.
It seemed to be a perfect day for skiing. Swish! Swish! We began our descent, stopping often to enjoy the beauty of it all. And with each successful turn, we became more confident—until halfway down the mountain we ran into fog. Thick fog. Pea-soup fog. This was not part of our plan! Pleasure was replaced with panic.
“What are we going do to now?” I (Claudia) asked.
Clueless, I (Dave) answered, “Pray!”
Together we considered our options. We could side-step down, but in the thick fog others might crash into us. We could take off our skis, carry them and walk down, but even then, not knowing the slope, we might get lost.
As we wrestled with our options, another couple—skiing at about our pace—skied by, and stopped just below us. Their laughter and obvious lack of concern assured us they knew the slope. They weren’t gripped with fear like their two American observers. So as they skied into the fog, we bravely followed them. When they turned, we turned. When they stopped to rest, we stopped to rest. Without realizing what they were doing, they safely guided us safely down the mountain.
Answered prayer? Definitely! Angels in ski suits? Probably not, but they could have been! Unknowingly, they had modeled for us and provided a path in the snow for us to follow. Then it struck us . . . others are watching us—what are we modeling?
While we aren’t the best models for traversing and getting down ski slopes, we began to realize that couples may be following us in other ways. What about younger couples who pattern their marriage after ours? Or the couples in our small group who watch how we handle difficult situations, or how we deal with conflict, or even how we handle success? Yes, others may be watching us right now and be influenced by how we relate to each other. Are we being good models?
What about you? What difference would it make if you knew others were watching you? In our confusing, foggy world yours might be the only marriage model others see clearly. It’s something to stop and think about.
Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. PSALM 34:3