Sunday, May 13, 2007

Do You Have Your Radio On?

Here's a pic of one of the fun things we do at camp. Out in the woods we have a zip line, suspended about 25 feet or so above the ground. To ride it, you must strap yourself into a climbing harness, clip into a safety line, and climb up the trunk of a tree (line worker style), and onto a tiny platform. It is here that you are attached to the zip line, and detached from your safety line. Then it's heave ho, and AWAY! Although it feels dangerous and daring, it really isn't. Once you've done it a time or two, your realize that the platform isn't really THAT high, and the ride isn't really THAT fast. And all the while you are being supported and encouraged by three trained staff members and your trusty gear. On the ground is one staff member, also wearing a harness and strapped to the ground, who is your safety line in case you should fall on your way up the tree. At the top is another staff person, cheering you on and ready to assist as you pull yourself onto the impossibly little platform. They then explain as they attach you to the zip line, and get you ready for your ride. If you are nervous, they'll talk you through it, and even pray with you if you want. But they will never push you off. You must do that yourself. They might explain to you that climbing back down the tree is much scarier than taking the ride, but they won't make you do it. Finally you jump off into space, and glide through the trees, to arrive too quickly at the other end. Here, another staff member helps extract you from the line where you dangle like a fish on a hook. They cheer you for your great ride, and carefully reel you in and get you onto solid ground again.

A couple of years ago, our youngest son decided that it was time to try it. His older brother regularly went up like a spider monkey and launched himself off with a whoop. It was a rite of passage for a nine year old. The day he decided to try, he was surely set up for success. On the ground were two staff members. The one strapped to his safety line was none other than Mom! Also standing by to encourage was a very close and trusted family friend. He began the climb, and although he was determined, his fear got the better of him, and he just could not climb any higher than about ten feet. He tried and tried, but there was no way to force himself. He walked away in tears...feeling like a failure.

The next day Mom was busy elsewhere, and was not at the course, strapped to the tree, so got to hear about this with everyone else. Again, our son came to the zip line, determined to conquer his fear. He began his climb, and this time he managed to drag his trembling limbs up that tree trunk. He was poised on the platform. On the ground below the staff member with his safety line said, "You can do it buddy!" On the platform another trusted friend and staff member said, "You can do it buddy!" From far off in the trees, the unloading staff member saw what was happening, and picked up his radio. It was tuned to the radio on the platform. "You can do it buddy." A half a mile away, at the pool, the lifeguard heard the call and also knew what was happening. He picked up his radio, "You can do it buddy!" From a ball field in the distance, the program staff heard the call too. They picked up their radio and called, "You can do it buddy!" With every ounce of bravery he could muster, our son took the leap...and loved every second of it! It was one of his proudest moments that summer.

My question is this: Do you have your radio on?


Our Ethiopian Adoption said...

Touched by God throught this today 5/17/07. Darn it, I said don't try to encourage me. Don't you just hate it when God thinks he's above it all, giggle.
Nemo & Nemo's mom
Thankfully I had my radio on.

soundtrack to our movie said...

I had forgotten about this whole thing. Aw, we were all so sorry for him when he couldn't make it, and so happy when he did. Good times. :-]

Mammy said...

You're being tagged! Name seven things you have learned in your life and then tag five other's Carolines fault, this is my first ever meme.:)

blondie said...

I love the metaphor! I know that sometimes we don't have our radios switched on because our own lives stop us from reaching the knob.

:) blondie -- hoping for more radio days...