Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lean: Rock Climbing

I recently took up rock climbing. Not just bouldering, getting myself to places I can easily descend on my own, but the real rock climbing. Harness on hips, rope on the harness, and go. Sure I'm inside, but I still am climbing a good thirty feet in the air, tall enough to cause some serious harm should I fall back to the floor. I started out all gung-ho, ready to conquer that wall. Then I got to the top of my first climb and an odd sensation overwhelmed me: I was scared. My palms wettened, heart raced and respirations quickened. I knew in my head that the rope attached to me and the person below me on belay would do what they should, but I couldn't shake the fear. Unfortunately, the most efficient way for me to descend from that height was to lean back, rest in my harness and let my body weight and the system lower me back down to solid ground. At that moment it was the last thing I wanted to do. But I had to. Gingerly I sat back, the system worked and I'm still unbroken.
Now I'd like to say my fear was conquered and now I climb without any anxiety at all. That's not the case. In fact, after every route I still get a little freaked and have to choose to exercise that faith that tells me that I did my eight knot right, the equipment will work, and the person belaying me will do their job right. As I lean back on the rope and vulnerably put all my weight on it, I am believing it will do what it was meant to do.
I feel the same way with God. Life is like learning to rock climb, I start out all stoked until I get to a point where I can't go anywhere more on my own strength. I've reached the top of the route and now must descent in order to go again. And that faith part freaks me out a bit. The faith it takes to lean all my weight (dreams, thoughts, ideas, life, etc) on God and trust that He'll let me down easy, doing what He's already said He would. Thankfully He's not offended that I get worried. Thankfully He realizes my fear, encourages me, and is faithful to let the descent be pleasant. Falling back and resting completely on God is not always the rush we thought it'd be, nor is it always completely comfortable, but it's sure, and He is always constant. And with each time, my faith is strengthened and I trust Him more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You're Not Alone, Japan

I frequently browse the NY Times when I am bored, whether at work, home or just whenever I have a spare moment. I'd like to say I 'read' it, but I'll be honest, I mostly browse the headlines, deciding whether or not anything seems interesting. Today this headline did manage to catch my attention:

Japanese City’s Cry Resonates Around the World

I guess it was the part about this mayor posting something on YouTube that caught my eye, but as I read through the story, I was blown away. In desperation this mayor of a 75,000 resident town in Japan that has the 'triple threat' of disasters as it's reality posted a video on an internet site, hoping that it might make a difference. As he is quoted in the article, he was at the end of his rope, and figured why not. The response was overwhelming: aid groups, individuals and NGO's bringing food and other supplies in a matter of days.

But my favorite part is this quote:

“Suddenly, the world was extending its hand to us,” said Mr. Sakurai, 55, an energetic man who still wears the same beige uniform as in the video, but now smiles and seems more relaxed. “We learned we’re not alone.”

Isn't that what we all want? Whether we are in a crisis or just going through our day to day, in the core of who we are, I believe we want to know we're not alone. We are seen. We are cherished and worth it. I am so glad and thankful for the response that occured after this mayor's plea. I am so happy that the people left in the city of Minamisoma know that the rest of the world is thinking of them, praying for them, and wants to see their lives restored.

If you have a chance, read the article. Its a good one.