This is my friend Mindy Heath, mom, mentor extraordinaire, and trapeze artist on a challenge course.
In my last post I wrote about my invitation to seek physical thrills at a homeschooling moms’ retreat (see http://momsretreat.org ) which was held at the Heber Valley Camp owned by the LDS Church. The leaders who were cabin mothers were asked to participate in a ropes course before the rest of the moms came. My blogging platform isn’t letting me post more pictures, and I have a lot more to post, so I started another blog post here to do more pictures.
So here’s the rest of the story:
I finally decided to complete the course since, really, I wanted to have the feeling of accomplishment that I did it, I wanted to know that I can do more than I think I can, and finally, because I had no excuse. Usually I bow out of physical things like this, saying, I can’t do it, I’ve got to take care of my baby, I’ve got to nurse, or it’s too scary. But all my “babies” were at home, nobody needed nursing, a sandwich, or tending, and it was now or never. I didn’t know when I would have the chance to do this again. I knew how exhilarated I would feel if I did it.
Here we are standing in line waiting for our turn with our lovely fashionable helmets. That’s me third from the left, standing next to Nicholeen Peck, of http://teachingselfgovernment.com to the right of me.
Notice I am now last in line as I excused myself to go to the restroom. After seven childbirths, my bladder is rather weak and the fear I was anticipating might cause an accident up there!
What really helped me feel more courage was hearing Nicholeen say, “There’s no way to fall. Those guys who are down here (service missionaries for the LDS Church) belaying have got us covered. It’s the weight of the two of them against one of us. If you slip, you will fall at the most 2 to 3 inches.” She said she had been here the day before to speak to another moms retreat group, and had seen the guys lower one of the sister missionaries down the other day when she wanted to get down that way, and we could be gently lowered too. So there was no way to fall! Thank you Nicholeen!
Here I go! I am going to climb this “floating” telephone pole to the top so I can get on the cable stretched between two trees. Yes, the pole is not anchored at the bottom, just at the top, so that was a little nerve-wracking.
I made it! The hardest part was first, lifting my left leg as I got closet to the top, to the next notch. I had to stop and breathe deeply like I learned to do for natural childbirth and rest and will my muscles to work harder than I initially thought they could. Another hard part was switching from one foot to another on one of the toeholds. I listened to the two missionary elders coaching me below so it all worked out and I didn’t slip.
The next hardest part was turning around to grab the cable provided for my hands.
OK, so I look fat and scared in this picture! I am willing to be embarrassed though, it’s good for personal growth! Notice the perspiration in my underarms! I am sweating bullets! This was scary but good for me too! I was thinking about childbirth, and how this experience was healing me from the fear I generated in my last pregnancy
towards labor in natural childbirth. A whole other story, but let’s just say, I am not afraid to have another natural childbirth. This challenge course totally healed me!
There I am! It’s becoming natural to me now!
Whew, I can almost hug the tree now! Believe me, I did, just like the girl two people before me did. I also cried a little bit. The kind sister missionary unhooked me and hook me up to the zip line. Can you imagine having this kind of mission?
There I go! Whee! I screamed almost the whole way down just to let out the fear and make it more fun! As in natural childbirth, vocalization gives energy, although I do recommend lower vocalization, like moaning and grunting, in labor.
We discussed the whole thing afterwards in a debrief (homeschoolers love to discuss any and all experiences, whether it’s a book, movie, speech, toy, web site, fashion, food, holiday, social event, or outdoor experience) Here’s what I learned from my own experience and others’ comments:
- knowing that I couldn’t fall was a huge comfort, blessing, and motivator! This is totally analogous to the Savior’s atonement. He is always there for us, like those men on the ground who were the belayers. His atonement means that although we sin, He makes it go away because of his perfection, love, and eternal wholeness.
- As my friend Kim Davis brought the previous point up in the discussion, I felt such a feeling of peace I have never felt before. I feel like I was “getting” the atonement even more. Having that feeling of security, knowing that I can’t fall spiritually, just like I could not fall physically in this course, gives me such a feeling of gratitude and also a feeling of being rich, in a spiritual way. Because of Christ’s spiritual “belaying,” I can’t fall. Christ is always there to “catch” me. This gave me such a feeling of freedom, comfort, and wonder. This physical experience deepened my knowledge of a spiritual concept I have “known” since I can remember. What will I do now knowing that I can’t spiritually fall? I can venture into new things, knowing that Christ is there to make up for my sins and mistakes. That’s not a license to sin intentionally and repent later, but a comfort to do new things that are right for us but scary.
- at one point when I was feeling like maybe I couldn’t go on more, towards the top of the telephone pole, I felt the men below me who were belaying, pull on the rope and lift me up a bit. That lift totally encouraged me. I felt I could continue. Christ is there to give me little lifts all along life’s way.
- the things I ask and promote for others to do, like homeschooling, might be as scary to those people as this challenge course was for me. I want to encourage them and be a lift to them as that physical lift was to me.
- I can feel fear and do it anyway! If I am to grow and do the things God wants me to do, I am going to feel fear. That doesn’t mean I am doing something wrong, it can be a sign I am doing the right thing! And as Audrey Rindlisbacher said in the discussion, “and the thing you feared is almost never, 99% of the time, as bad as you thought it would be once you go through with it.”
I am so happy I conquered my fear and feel the love of God greater than I ever have before. I feel so much more confident. In my next post I am going to post a video by Brad Wilcox that totally relates to all of this.