(I'm re-posting this. It's from my book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God. Linda and I saw "Free Solo" at the Imax in Ann Arbor. It's about Alex Honnold's rope-less climb of El Capitan. Amazing, and frightening!)
Several years ago I watched a "60 Minutes" segment that fully engaged me. I dvr-ed it and showed it to several people. It was on rock climber Alex Honnold's "free solo" of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.
Half Dome is a nearly vertical 2000-foot sheer granite wall. Alex climbs it... without the assistance of ropes or harness. It's just him, his hands, and his tennis shoes. It made me nervous watching him, even though I knew he survived. The shots of him clinging to the wall, with the trees and river a half mile below him, are astounding.
No one else in the world has done this. Perhaps no one else can. Alex's focus is amazing! One cannot help but think: one mistake and you are dead. No second chance. It's either perfection and completeness or total failure. This sport is unforgiving. To conquer Half Dome you have to be perfect.
Nine-tenths of the way up Half Dome there is a place climbers call "Thank God Ledge." This ledge is a 35-foot-long ramp that is anywhere from 5 to 12 inches wide. If a climber can get himself on this ledge he can jam his fingers into small cracks in the wall and "take a break." "Thank God Ledge" is a place of relief. It's a slim moment of mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
|Alex Honnold on|
Thank God Ledge
Thank God that he is forgiving! His forgiveness is not narrow. God's love is wide.
Back in the 70s I wrote a song called "How Many Times?" The words go: "How many times we all fall down, broken and bent by the wind. How many times His love comes down, lifts us up again."
In the forgiveness of the Cross God has placed us on "Thank God Ledge." When we experience his forgiveness we are lifted up to this place of beauty and rest. It is a place of restoration and healing. When experienced and understood, it provokes praise. When we forgive others we invite them to join us in this place. Unforgiveness lets people fall to their destruction. Forgiveness rescues.
In the Cross of Christ you have been conquered by God.
There's plenty of room on Thank God Ledge. Pray there.
My book on prayer is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God (May 2016)
My book on leadership is Leading the Presence-Driven Church
I'm now working on...
Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart
Technology and Spiritual Formation
Then, Linda and I plan to write our book on Relationships.