Clinging to a Rock

Let me start with a fundamental reality about myself.  
I am seriously afraid of heights.
More specifically I am afraid of falling.
I am ultra competitive when it comes to sports.  
So I usually don't step up and try unless I know I am going to win.

So enough with the confessions ...

Back when I lived in Jefferson City, Missouri the YMCA right next to the church I served as Associate Pastor built an indoor rock climbing wall.  We took our youth one night as part of a lock-in.

I figured I would try it out to show good leadership and "take one for the team", showing my "bravery" by climbing the shortest wall possible, in the quickest amount of time,
without crying in front of my youth.

After my first climb I was hooked.

I loved the adreniline of climbing, of facing my fear head on.

After having our first child, Eva, Dan and I stopped indoor rock climbing until ...

Last month when I was in St. Louis on vacation, Dan and I took our kids indoor rock climbing for the very first time.  It was amazing!

As I look at photos of me climbing it reminds me 
of how much of indoor rock climbing is clinging to a rock.
You find a hand hold or a place to put your feet that is much smaller than ideal, 
one that can give you the edge up the side of the wall.

Rarely do you get the luxury of having your whole hand grabbing onto something 
or your entire foot on something.

So you find your balance as best you can.

I try not to look down, only up.

And yes, if my daughter climbed to a certain height,
I of course had to climb higher.  
(Sorry Eva one day you will smoke me.)

The BEST part of climbing other than making it to the top for me,
is letting go at the end of a climb.

Falling safely down.

So much of our lives entails clinging onto things or people or situations or routine.  And we might even use all of our energy trying to hold on, wearing ourselves out.  
Wearing others out in our stubbornness.  
Fearful of letting go.

The thing is, at least with indoor rock climbing, even if you let go, you can always try again.  And the places that used to challenge you, those hard to reach holds, one day after practice become stepping stones and not barriers to moving forward.

The same happens in life, you have to let go in order to move up.

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