This week’s post is a special one for a number of reasons. First, it’s the beginning of my series on Bhutan, which I’ve been looking forward to sharing for sometime. Second, and perhaps more relevant to the rest of this post, is the fact that I’ve just turned 40. FORTY! Yikes!

I think we all probably have that age; the one that scares us, and reminds us that this life is fleeting. Mine was 30. I was seriously depressed for days. I could remember when I thought 30 was ancient, and now suddenly I was 30! As it turned out, my 30’s were the best decade of life so far, which is maybe a bold statement considering that mine and Holly’s 30’s got off to a rocky start. Our 30’s are when we wrestled with infertility, and ultimately accepted that we would be childless. Our 30’s are when Holly was diagnosed with breast cancer. As they say though, the bitter times make the sweet times all the sweeter. I would have never chosen this path, and given the opportunity I can’t honestly say I’d choose it over again, but through all this we experienced God’s amazing grace and mercy. We experienced the power of community, and we experienced love on a different level. Those are all hard lessons, but I can honestly say that I’m a better person for them.

Beyond those major valleys, the last decade of my life so far has also been filled with some amazing peaks. I feel like I came into my own as far as my career goes. Facebook actually just reminded me that two years ago today I announced that I was leaving Claris Networks, a business and group of people that I thoroughly enjoyed working with. My new job has been a total adventure that has taken me all over the world, which has been another hallmark of my 30’s; travel. In the last 10 years, Holly and I have traveled to 17 new countries, and while I may have missed my goal of visiting all 7 continents by the time I turned 40 (I’m giving myself till 45 now), we got to experience some amazing things, see some amazing sights, and made some lasting friendships in the process.

That brings me back to Bhutan. Bhutan has been at the very top of my bucket list for quite some time, and I was absolutely thrilled to visit there at the end of last year. I’ll share more in the following weeks, but I wanted to lead off with this image of Mount Jomolhari at sunrise. The mountain itself is majestic and as I stood there at Chele La pass, waiting for the sun to rise and enjoying the colors of the alpine glow that surrounded the high peaks, I had a little time of personal prayer. As I was thinking and reflecting, these words came to me:

My eyes have seen the tallest peaks and the depths of the ocean. My ears have heard the songs of exotic birds and I have felt the silence of the desert. Your creation, oh God, is magnificent.
Yet I still stand in awe of You, Father, because all this pales in comparison to Your matchless beauty.

I’m approaching my 40’s much different than I started my 30’s. My 40’s will no doubt be filled with challenges, but that is all the more reason to savor the successes.

–Dan Thompson

Chele La Pass