“Solo Climber With No Ropes Tops El Capitan”
So reads the headline describing 31-year-old Alex Honnold’s recent ascent of Yosemite National Park’s massive granite El Capitan. He became the first to climb the daunting obstacle using only his hands and feet. No safety devices or other climbing gear.
The feat is amazing enough but what caught my attention was what preceded the three hour and fifty-six minute climb. While this was a life goal, it was not one undertaken without careful thought and preparation. He first wrote about the potential record-setting climb in his journal in 2009 but repeatedly found reasons to set it aside. In addition to thinking and dreaming about the feat the past two years, he climbed the wall several times with protective gear, “memorizing each hole he had to grab and the way he had to position his body until he felt comfortable enough to attempt the ‘free solo’ climb…even more challenging was overcoming the mental hurdle.”*
In twelve months (God willing!) I will join the ranks of those who check the 80-or-over box on the Sunday church “attendance roster.” The years from today on could be likened to climbing a mountain. What were mere hills in previous years are now El Capitans because of a body naturally aging. (In spite of healthy preventative measures.) While I seem to more often forget names, I’m grateful that God is granting me an active, inquisitive and (usually!) alert mind, one which I “exercise” with the climbing gear of crossword puzzles, in-depth conversations with friends who stimulate my thinking, reading that strains the brain as well as that which deeply satisfies the soul. And some which just provides amusement! Regular physical medical examinations indicate that I’m healthier than most “of my age.” (Don’t you love that phrase??)
Even those younger than I need encouragement for the climb, whether hills or mountains. Over recent months God has been nudging me to alter the focus of this My Monday Moments blog to address that encouragement, as well as other similar topics–some comforting and some perhaps not so! Stay tuned to this site until you hear how you can log on to the (probable-but-not-yet-set-in-cement!) new title: Old and Growing.
*The Associated Press