October 11, 2013

Scaling the Heights




Betty took this picture a few years ago on our visit to the Grand Tetons. Even though we were there in late May, winter was still in full force on the peaks. I love this photo because of the power, majesty, and raw nature it captures.

It reminds me of my satisfying retirement goal: to scale the heights of my abilities, time, and energies as far as I can. Anything else seems like a waste of the opportunities given to me.  

Our small group at church is going through a series this fall entitled, "If You Want to Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat." This refers specifically to the passage in Matthew in which Jesus asks Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water to him. The message is one of faith and trust.

For this post, I'd like to focus on the broader message implied by that title. If we want to accomplish anything of worth we have to "step out of the boat" of our own comfort zone. If we want to grow instead of stagnate we must (to use the same metaphor) risk sinking beneath the water a few times until we learn to swim.

Is it easy? Absolutely not. Safe and comfortable, calm and predictable are more normal choices for human beings. But, are we built to handle more than we do? Yes. How will we know what we can do? By stepping out of our boat every now and then.

What is our personal "boat?" It can be anything: our possessions, our health limitations, our relationships, our self-image. It could be money or financial issues, control over situations or shyness with new people. It is often simply the risk of failure in whatever the subject.

I want to encourage all of us to look at that photo of the mountain not as something cold, snowy, dangerous, and a barrier to what's on the other side. See it as a challenge to you, a challenge to get out of your own "boat" of safety and scale the heights of a new experience. Decide you want to see what is on the other side.

If you take on this task you will stumble and fall, you might even embarrass yourself for awhile. But, so what? We are all old enough that what others think shouldn't always be the standard we are shooting for.

Get out of your boat and climb that mountain. The view will be spectacular.

13 comments:

  1. What a great way to say it. Not allowing our fears to hold us back and to actually embrace change means a very different approach to life. A much fuller and as you say satisfying life no matter what our age.

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    1. Embracing change means I am responding to you from our RV in Morro Bay, CA. Change is good.

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    2. Do you love the area, Bob? I almost lost my dog there when I was a teenager. He was such a dumb dog but a fast, determined runner. He took off after a sea gull and was just a speck in the distance in no time. Bet Bailey's having fun.

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    3. She is loving all the new smells and areas to explore, but runs away from the waves!

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  2. One of the best parts of "get out of the boat & climb the mountain" for me is that the boat will be different for everyone. For some folks, it will be get out of the house & interact with others, volunteer, climb a mountain or run a marathon. For someone else, it could be to slow down & take care of their health or financial issues so they can participate fully in a satisfying retirement.

    Exciting post!

    pam

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    1. After meeting with you in Paso Robles a few days ago I have no doubt you go for what you want. Betty and I enjoyed our time with you and seeing your cohousing development. You have taken an approach to retirement that is just right for you.

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  3. Bob, I rarely have a problem stepping out of my comfort zone, but I always examine my motivation first. If my desire is authentic, and I am willing to commit time and effort, then its all systems go. Nice post. Hope you are enjoying your travels.

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    1. Our trip is going well. Even after one of the parks messed up our reservation and I have had a terrible time getting decent Internet access, I am scaling the heights!

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  4. I've always been a big fan of testing the waters. Mind you I don't swim, but metaphorically speaking.... If you don't shake things up every now and then you become stagnant and no one wants that to happen! Glad you're having fun on your vacation.
    b

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    1. Hold it, you have a beach house and you don't swim? That is Ok...when I am by the ocean I like to watch the waves and people but not actually go in. Particularly in California the water is very cold.

      We have started our turn home and thinking about all the projects we have when we get back. The weather has finally turned pleasant in Scottsdale so our creative juices are flowing.

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  5. My father wrote to me when I started school:
    “Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.”
    Dag Hammarskjold quotes (Swedish Statesman and United Nations official, 1905-1961)

    It has been my motto in many situations.
    It fits so well to your writing and to the picture that I could not but post it.

    Have a great day!

    Chris

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    1. Thanks, Chris. I like that expression. "Never look down on the way up" also fits.

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  6. Temecula near San Diego is a wine community too. There are a number of wineries there and they are known wines in the wine community, I am told. I don't drink wine at all any more so I am not completely up on what is current. Another place we used to enjoy a bottle of wine from, now and then, is in Oak Glen at Los Rios Rancho. They have a wine room and feature Apple, Peach and other wines that are not of the grape variety. As long as you stay on the main road and don't try to go to snow line for apples you would be fine traveling there in your RV. BTW you can get hard cider there as well. ~Sue http://www.oakglen.net/farms.html

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