I have been blessed with seeing much of the world and without a doubt, the Roaring Fork Valley and surrounding wilderness is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. High mountain peaks, blue skies, an abundance of wildlife, rivers, trees, summer flowers, and winter snows all serve to make where we live what it is.
Because of this, so many people want to live here, boundless folks spend time visiting here, and some quickly pass through on a drive over Independence Pass. If you look around at people on the ski slopes, at tables filled with folks smiling and talking, at people standing in rivers fishing, or at those hiking or riding along summer trails, you will observe much joy and gratitude. I am glad this is the case as I would hope we feel and express such things.
I have come to believe that all of this is such an incredible blessing, but a blessing with a razor sharp edge. That is, life is life whether one lives in a downtown metropolitan area or a mountain town resort community. The problem is that when one lives in a resort, a person can feel quite alone and isolated when life circumstances and happenings don’t match the apparent joy of those out and about.
Most things that happen in other places such as
cancer, life limiting illnesses, accidents, death, suicide, broken families, bullying, substance abuse and addiction, spousal and child abuse, loneliness, the challenges of old age, betrayal, people taking advantage of others and so much more also happen in Snowmass Village. I say this not to be negative, but to perhaps shed some light on why not being in a good place in life here can be more emotionally difficult than in other places.
I sometimes hear people say, “Why am I not happy? Everyone else seems to be. Why am I struggling so much when so many seem to be having a good time? Why is life hard, when others appear to have it so easy? I work hard, very hard, and can never get ahead and it feels like everyone has a place to live. How can people pay so much to eat, when I worry about how to make ends meet?
Why am I so depressed when so many others are smiling all the time? Why am I so anxious as others seem so relaxed.”
It is an astonishing blessing to be where we are in this Valley. But living in a resort community, I believe, can exacerbate the challenges of life when they happen, because when life happens in a resort, it can feel very isolating because many people might appear to be problem free while they are here.
I hope and pray that all of us, visitors and locals alike, will live each day with hearts of gratitude for where we are. But I also pray that we will be sensitive to those around us who may not be in places of joy, not because they are not grateful people, but because life happens whether one is in NYC or Snowmass Village.
As we enjoy our days, enjoy them to the fullest, but with eyes on the lookout for the person whose heart is heavily burdened. And if you are in a bad place because life is happening, know that we are here to help and that the loving presence of God is within you and enfolds you. Life happens here and everywhere, and Jesus invites us to bring our burdens to Him with open, vulnerable, and honest hearts, even when some folks are out enjoying a blissful day of powder, as they should be.