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Climbing Smooth

“If the mountain was smooth, you couldn’t even climb it!” unknown

I was watching a YouTube video about the hymn Amazing Grace with Wintley Phipps yesterday.  What an inspiring bit of film and song!  But I was struck by the proverb above that Wintley quoted in the beginning of  the clip.  How profound 10 ordinary words can be!

What are the mountains in your life?

Webster says:  “Adversity: (noun) a state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty or adverse fortune (see adverse).                  Synonyms:misfortune, ill, knock, misadventure, mischance, mishap, tragedy Antonyms: fortune, luck, serendipity”

Did you ever try to climb up the slide at the playground?  I have.  Tough.  I remember a group of us kids daring each other to make it to the top.  There were dozens of attempts without touching the sides.  All unsuccessful.  It wasn’t until we used our hands to grip the edges of the slide that anyone made it to the top.  A smooth mountain would be like that.  Think of trying to climb the perfect triangle, we would crash every time.

Real mountains are not smooth.  Craggy, rocky, difficult, dangerous, murderous, majestic, beautiful, lofty and huge are words we use to describe them.  Rock climbers know that it requires the gear, the skill, the perseverance,  and the courage to undertake it all.  The climbers that tackle the big ones–K2, Everest, McKinley all know it takes planning and serious preparation to accomplish the task.  Most will also tell you it takes teamwork.  Your climbing partners and your base camp support folks they all have to be committed to the effort and work together.

K2 in summer.

Image via Wikipedia

Watching the news the other night I felt like the kid in the playground, surrounded by the “Super Committee”  trying in vain to climb the slide.  No one was successful.  No one worked together.  Everyone wanted to blame someone–someone else.  It was discouraging!

My own mountain right now has many sharp obstacles.  Kind of like the picture of K2 in Summer to the right.   After a long career of sitting in an office, I am doing retail sales and my body is revolting big time!  My bank account and my retirement account and my real estate are like team mates that are pulling the ropes that keep us together in all different directions.  How can we reach the summit with problems like these?

That’s when it hit me that the craggy bits and the sharp outcroppings and the difficulties with sore tired muscles and stiff joints are part of what makes reaching the summit the true achievement that it is.  The base camp team is vital–family and friends–cheering you on and making the assent possible.  If the way was smooth, how could you climb?

The other thing that hit me is that if you don’t work together, you can’t work at all when it comes to climbing.  The climbers that reach the summit know they did not get there on their own.  The guy at the peak had to have faith in the team, each one contributing their part and all contributing to the achievement.

So what then is the problem–how do we plan to achieve the summit here?  How can we get the team to work together so we’re not climbing smooth?  What can we do to conquer that adversity mountain that our country confronts?  The mountain that represents all the debt and loss of confidence in government and in ourselves?  How do we gain the courage to climb despite the partisan fear and destructive mistrust and being pulled in every direction by special interests?

Ideas?

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4 thoughts on “Climbing Smooth

  1. The answer here I believe is to climb our own mountains with God and our support systems (friends and family). The mountain of national debt is a separate but related story. I have decided that we need to simplify, downsize, and reduce. This well help put an end to our personal debt. Who knows what will happen to tax rates and everything else? i surely don’t. However, I had become paralyzed by the wondering and worrying. Then it hit me: it was like when my dad was teaching me to drive. I was CONSTANTLY looking in the rear view mirror worrying about whether the person behind me was following too close or looking impatient. My dad said “you can only drive this car”. An occasional glance behind you is fine. But when you are so focused on the other guy, you are not taking care of your own assignment”. Thus it is with national and state debt. If each took care of their own issue perhaps we as a group would work together kindly and patiently. In the meantime, I have my own “rows to hoe, weeds to pull, and seeds to plant”. Thank you for your posts. I hope that your aches and pains from working retail get a bit easier to bear.

  2. Thanks for your insight, Kate! I especially like your dad’s comment: “You can only drive THIS car” (emphasis mine)! Very true in many ways. Like the bumper stickers–“Think globally, act locally”. As individuals that is the way we have to approach things, right where we are right here, right now. The Doctor gave me some special stretches to relieve the pressure on a particular ligament so hopefully that will begin to really help. Meanwhile, me and my motrin will go to work.

  3. Pingback: Amazing Grace X Two For Easter 2012 | Sandia Tea Party

  4. Pingback: Amazing Grace X Two For Easter 2012 | Gadaboutblogalot's Blog

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