I was on retreat this weekend with a group of teenagers at a beautiful camp. My sister-in-law who is also a youth minister gave me the opportunity to act as a youth minister once again as I helped her and a planning team create and implement the retreat this weekend. There were a few profound moments...as there always are on a retreat...but there is only one I want to share right now.
Part of Saturday's events included the High Ropes Course. Now, most people have either heard of, seen, or experienced a high ropes course so I won't go into much detail here. Basically they had to climb up a pole (there were prongs to climb) until they reached a tight-rope, log, or other obsticle about 20 feet high. They had harnesses and were attached to a rope which a trained camp staffer held to help control the situation and keep them safe (just like when you climb rock walls). Then they had to accomplish walking across a tight rope, up a diagonal log, or across a rope with planks, etc. (When I say "they" I mean just about everyone except me as I have done a high ropes course before and don't care to again...I may write about my experience next or another time).
We later talked about what that experience was like for everyone. Most people discovered that it was a little scarrier than they thought or how it looked. Several were proud of themselves for accomplishing the task without much trouble. Some were glad they at least tried. Overall I think their sentiments were the same as mine after I had done it...when asked if we should do it again with a group next year they mostly voted "no" -- been there, done that, don't want to do it again. One student made a statement that really stuck with me. She said, "The hardest part was letting go of the pole once you reached the top."
Isn't that true of most everything in life? I mean, the hardest part being the "letting go." This student said, "Once I let go and just did it I was fine, but I was scared to let go." It made me think of all those big changes that lie before us...for many these days it means facing unemployment and finding a new job; for some it's facing retirement; for others it's moving to a new town or new house; for some it means letting go of some emotional pain...perhaps a grudge...the letting go means forgiving someone...or even forgiving self for a mistake or a regret; maybe for some it means just letting go of what they THINK should be happening in their lives and just being o.k. with where they are and focusing on their blessings. The "letting go" can be the hardest part. And that's exactly where God is...in the letting go. The longer and harder we hold on to that "pole" the harder the journey becomes, the more anguish we create...the pole becomes a crutch...the pole becomes NOT our safe place, but our obsticle. God is waiting for us to LET GO and reach out...experience FAITH...embrace what looks impossible...TRUST that He is with us and it will all be fine. GOD is our "spotter" - He's holding our life-line...He's going to make sure that all will turn out just the way it should. Once we let go of our proverbial poles and just do what we need to do, we too will find that it all looked scarrier than it actually was. Be aware of your blessings today and trust that you are exactly where should be...for today. Let go of what you need to let go of and feel God's peace...today.