Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Submitting to submission...Submitting to love

Submission is hard...and talking about it in a positive way may be even harder. It doesn't come naturally to us, we fight it with every fiber of our independent being. But we are called to submit, for our own good, to our God and to other people. What does that look like? What does that mean for us? What are we scared of?

Let's start with what may be one of the most often quoted scriptures, and certainly one of the most preached: The Greatest Commandments.

Matthew 22

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Pretty simple right? Just love the "Lord" with...everything & love your neighbor...as yourself...

OK, maybe not so simple but why? We have this urge, this need to be in control. Or maybe that's just me. It's not that I don't want to relinquish my control, it just that I don't trust someone else to take it and do a good job at it. Really it comes down to trust. Do I trust that God has my best interest in mind? Yes. 

So when I give myself and my life to him with all of my passions, all of my thoughts, with my deepest parts of me, and with my physical body, it should be easy right? Wrong, again. It seems as soon as I get to the place, God reveals another piece of me that I haven't let go of, another corner of my heart to let the light expel the darkness. Then, as if that isn't hard enough, then you want us to love our neighbor in ways that I'm not sure most of us love our selves. 

And that is why it requires submission. As Christians, our lives are not our own. We are told to take up our cross daily, to lay down our lives, to consider others before ourselves. This can only happen in the context of a life laid down. Of wants, and desires placed at the foot of the cross. The cross was the greatest act of love and Jesus reminded us that we participate in this by laying our lives down for our friends in John 15:12-13:

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

I have a little something to share with you: you are not in control of this world. Wow, isn't that freeing. Here's another one: God is in control of this world and He knows what's best for you! There is great freedom in that acknowledgment. Are you willing to put Him as "Lord" over all in your life and world? Once you do, then you will know freedom. And that freedom comes from submission!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mt. Whitney Adventure Day 5: Down and Down More

Something that most people don't consider when doing an outdoor adventure, or in life for that matter, is a simple rule of physics: what goes up must come down.  When you are on the top of the lower 49 states, it is a long way down!

Once I finally reached the peak of Mt. Whitney and was greeted by the rest of the team, the two guides had a question for me: How do you feel on a scale of 1-10? I told them I was about a 9, slight altitude headache but otherwise I felt great.  They relied with an affirmative "great" and proceeded to tell me to eat a quick lunch and get some pictures because they were sending me down with Group 1 who had been on the peak for almost and hour and a half.  So after a little fun, some pictures and a quick lunch I was headed back down off the summit.

Going down always presents itself with a new set of problems. Stability is completely different and your quads and knees are already tired. They put me second on the line right behind Jon Dorn the editor for Backpacker magazine with Nick and Anthony right behind me, and our guide Thomas at the back as the anchor. Now I had no trouble keeping up with the scrambling or the rappelling, but then we made it to the snow gulley. The first decision here was not to put our crampons back on. No big deal I'm decent on snow and ice. But there was one minor complication: Jon is 6'6" or more & and I am not!

So with the snow melting it was common to "post-hole" or for your leg to go into the snow all the way up to your waist if you step wrong. With Jon's height he would take a step down hill and it would pull me forward. I certainly couldn't step where he was stepping- my legs just weren't long enough. I can't imagine how funny it must have looked to the three guys behind me as Jon and I did a herky-jerky dance down the 45% grade.

We waited down at camp for the other team to arrive and we all rejoiced together and sat around sharing snacks and talking about the climb. Dinner was made and another early night in the tents with everyone feeling exhausted and anxious about the hike down the next day.

Thursday we woke up, packed up and headed down hill. We were moving quickly enough that we met the next team still at low camp. We hung out for a bit and told some stories. Pete Athens was on this crew, he has summited Everest 8 times, two without the aide of oxygen. We took lots of pictures and then the packs were back on and we headed down the trail.

Finally back at the Whitney Portal we were excited to have our packs off and boots off. We collected some T-shirts and other items to remember our climb and headed to a great lunch at a local Lone Pine cafe.

I had a wonderful crew that week and made some great new friends.  It's amazing how much you can get to know some people over the course of just a couple of days.  But knowing that we raised money that will influence the lives of young people may be the greatest memory we take away.  Just as our lives were forever changed by sharing a week together hiking, I pray that the lives of young people all across the country will be similarly changed. It never ceases to amaze me, how much life perspective changes when we get outside of our norm and comfort zone.

But my journey wasn't over...Matthew, Jeremy, and I were headed to the Grand Canyon on the way home!

The summer of recovery and difficulty

The last year and a half have been in a word; hard. The pandemic has left us disconnected, grieving, uneasy, fractured, and wondering what i...