Everyone has a voice, and a choice to use it well, use it poorly, or not to use it at all.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mentally Packing the Golden State

The great Artist draws the Summer of 2011 to a close. For me, this is the busiest part: I head into the backcountry to instruct a course early tomorrow morning, then have a day to regroup before instructing another. I fly home at 6 the morning after that course ends. I just finished packing up all the physical things I have here. Some of them I brought with me, some I acquired while here. There are several things I choose to leave behind.

                                           Crystal Crag - climbed on Alpine Training

Packing physical things is necessary and fairly straightforward - I can see what I am doing. Packing mental things is just as necessary, but not nearly as straightforward. I can't see what I am doing, and it is harder to know what I brought, what I acquired, and what I am leaving behind. I think that making a list will prove as useful in mental packing as it has in physical packing.

                                  Upper Cathedral Rock - site of my first Yosemite climb

Things I Brought with Me:
-excitement to experience California and practice experiential education in the wilderness
-hope to receive confirmation concerning what God wants me to do with my life
-nervousness concerning my own abilities, those I would serve with, and whether I would be able to keep my spirits up in the logistics work or not
-plenty of physical gear

Things I Acquired:
-greater appreciation of the beauty of California and its maker
-experience in experiential education in the wilderness
-technical skill, especially in setting up rappels and climbs, and in climbing itself
-many valuable friendships
-confirmation that I truly enjoy facilitating experiential ed. in the wilderness, and that it is the form of ministry that comes most naturally to me of all I have experienced so far
-thankfulness that God put me among truly wonderful, Christ serving, talented people to serve with and under
- less confidence in some areas of my ability, more confidence in other areas, and a greater motivation to increase my ability
-confidence and thankfulness that when excitement in work runs out, work ethic will still allow me to do a good job
-a better understanding of who I am and how I react in certain situations, in specific ways
-a deeper understanding of my own sin. I am very, very bad, and God is very, very good.
- some more, cooler, physical gear

Things I am Leaving Behind
-a fair amount of pride (praise God that He answers when we ask for humility)
-a little blood
-the testimony of Christ in me, by God's grace
-a good bit of less cool physical gear

Now, concerning my goals at the beginning of the summer...

"1. Read through the whole Bible
2. Read three works of literature
3. Memorize three works of poetry and three passages of scripture
4. Memorize the exact altitudes of each of the "Seven Summits". Why not?"

Well, I didn't complete all the goals. I have made it most of the way through Numbers in the Bible. I was only able to complete Augustine's Confessions, but I am perfectly satisfied on that one. It is richer in insight than any book I have ever read aside from the Bible. For memorization, I memorized one Psalm (139) and one poem (A Prayer, by Claude McKay). I didn't even try to memorize the exact altitudes of the Seven Summits.

Turns out I came up short on all four of my goals. It bothers me a little bit, but not much. I learned so much, in so many different areas, that it is impossible for me to get seriously disappointed about missing a few poems and books.

If you are in the Bluegrass, I'll see you soon! If you are in California or elsewhere around the world, I hope to see you again!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Whatever is good in in you, and me, and the world, comes directly from Him.