There are distinct advantages and disadvantages of hanging out
with people who are younger than you are: The advantage is that they make you feel younger; the disadvantage is that they make you feel older. I had so much fun working with a team of young adults in France last summer, but after a while I started to forget that I could be their mom (or even grandma), and it was in such a state of altered consciousness that I decided to go rock climbing with them after we’d finished working one evening. I envisioned a 20′ rock-climbing wall with multi-colored foot holds such as adorn rec centers and are popular attractions for teenagers here in America. I thought back to my days of mountain climbing on the weekends
when I taught school in North Carolina and figured it would be challenging…but not impossible. Had I been in the U.S., I would have done a google search and discovered that “Via Ferrate and taking the Bastille” involves creeping via hands and footholds approximately 1,561 feet vertically and I’m not sure how far horizontally. There’s a reason for the names! “Via Ferrate” is a technique developed by the Italian army to maneuver through the Dolomite mountains during World War 1. There’s also a reason why this mountain fortress was named the Bastille, prescribed for “enthusiasts for sensational experiences & rock-climbing lovers.” There’s also probably a reason why fools rush in where angels fear to tread,
but I’m still working on that one. 🙂Of course, I didn’t study up, and the tall, athletic family we were staying with thought it was a super fun thing to do. To make a long, scary story short, I will tell you that the Lord intervened for me. As we started to climb, it started to rain, and not just a sprinkle. The Lord sent us an indisputable “NO!” in the form of thunder,
lightning, and a downpour! As soon as we scrambled down and put away our gear,
the thunder roared no more and the rain became a sprinkle,so we hiked up the mountainside via the beautiful Jardin des Dauphin and a complicated series of stairways. At the top we enjoyed spectacular views of Grenoble and our day ended with a captivating rainbow across the entire sky that disappeared somewhere behind the Bastille. The following night, the kids decided to go again,
but I had learned my lesson and stayed behind as the prayer warrior. It took them much longer than they anticipated, and they finished in the dark.
Some of them got lost trying to find their way back down.
I heard the descriptor “terrifying” from one of the kids,
and they all agreed I’d made the right choice not to come. Frankly, I was afraid that if I’d gone, I would not only have failed, I might have gotten killed and likely injured or killed others who would have tried to help me. Sometimes we get in over our heads, don’t we? Are you feeling over your head right now? If so, STOP! God may not send a bolt of lightning to stop you, but be thankful if He does. Stop before you kill yourself or someone else you love!“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go:
I will guide thee with mine eye” (Psalm 32:8…if we’ll listen!)
(A special thank you to Elena and Bayer Watson, Paul Wiersma, and “Milky” [from Wiki] for contributing photos!)