Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm. We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Let's be more aware of all the choices, situations, twists and turns that brought us to this place right here and now. They May Be Miracles.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Letting Go

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 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 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


Robin said...

Great post ..and great lessons to teach youth( and adults) sound like an inspiring leader...What a fantastic weekend retreat..!

Dustine said...

It was an inspiring weekend. What's great about an experience like that is that everyone takes away something different...this was a little something I took away. Thanks Robin.


I found your profile on another blog that I follow and added myself to follow you.

If you would like to visit my blog you are more than welcome to.

God bless you, Ron

Dustine said...

Hi Ron,
I stopped by your blog and I think it's GREAT! I'll be following you as well! Thanks for stopping by!
God Bless,