We took our kids to a camp with another family with whom we have been very close for many years, whose kids grew up with ours.
We zip-lined and rock climbed.
On the beautiful lake surrounded by trees, we kayaked, canoed, paddle boated, and swam.
We petted goats that tried to eat our shorts. We hugged sheep. And we had our first experience being spit on by a llama.
We also saw plenty of horses. Being that we live on a horse farm, we weren’t all that enthralled with the stable of camp equines or the Friday night rodeo, which was more like a geriatric wheelchair race than a real rodeo. I’ve never seen such slow horses in speed games! All the joking about their lack of locomotion made for plenty of laughter.
I took photos of everyone doing everything. But mostly, I took pictures at the rock climbing walls. I wanted to document the greatest feat accomplished.
Some walls had slight angles. Some were straight up. One had a protrusion they called “the nose” where the climber had to tilt backwards at an angle many couldn’t scale.
The “nose” looked utterly impossible to me.
But by-standers cheered each climber on.
“Put your foot a little to the left!”
“Grab the rock to the right!”
“YES! Great job! Keep going! You can do it!”
Then another foot.
Hands and arms shook.
Muscles rippled, pulling whole bodies higher and higher.
We heard fear and uncertainty.
“I can’t do it!”
Those of us below kept encouraging.
“You can do it! Keep going! You’ll make it!”
Every reach of an arm, every higher position of a foot, they heard us say, “Good job! See! You can do it! One step at a time!”
I wondered how many of our kids would simply have given up had they not had the encouragement of the caring on the ground who kept them climbing, despite their doubts and fears.
Obstacles in life can seem too high, too big, too impossible when we look at them by ourselves, through our eyes only.
But with the help of others, we find ourselves able to accomplish more than we ever dreamed possible. We find ourselves going from lowly places to elevated places and we realize we never could have accomplished such feats on our own, which shrinks our egos back into proper position—a good thing.
So rock climbing emphasized an important life lesson . . .
We all need encouragement.
And we all need humility—to keep “our” accomplishments in proper perspective.
We all need a cheering team to move us out of our self-imposed prisons of fear and doubt—to maneuver paths with too many choices, some that could cause us to lose our grip and fall.
But remember this . . .
All of us—those on the ground—those part-way up—those at the top . . .
We all are made by God who is FOR us—not AGAINST us.
Will we follow His directives and find sure footing?
Will we follow His encouraging voice and keep moving?
Our kids scaled those walls to the top and rang the victory bell on the ledge. And they all gave thanks for the encouragement when they came back down—for the sticking with them through the most difficult parts—for believing in them to do what appeared impossible.
And as they came down from the heights, I gave thanks for all the people in my husband’s and my life who have stuck with us through the most difficult parts of our “climb”—through the thick where we can’t quite see—through the thin where we quite can’t cope with our fears and our doubts—not by ourselves.
God raises up the humble and lowers the proud—all for the same purpose—not to shame, but to proclaim . . .
“I am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.” Isaiah 43:11
Everything we are—everything we do . . .
There is no WE apart from HE.
All God asks is that we be faithful with what He has given us.
And our primary task in life is to come alongside each other and encourage the climb, not stopping till we all reach the goal most worth pursuing—intimate relationship with our Creator—and intimate relationship with one another.
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40