"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Day Six of Seven
July 8, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Connie Pombo
Climbing the “Heights” of His Passion: Yosemite National Park (June 27, 2006)
“No temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite,” wrote naturalist John Muir. Jeremy, my 25-year-old son, would agree! He celebrated his twenty-fifth birthday “climbing rocks.” If you’ve never been to Yosemite, check out page 585 of 1,000 Places To See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz.
El Capitan (“El Cap”—to rock climbers), is the largest single granite rock on earth, rising over 350 stories from the valley floor—drawing rock climbing enthusiasts from around the world (including my son).
Jeremy is passionate about climbing (I think it’s one of the reasons he became a teacher, so he could climb during the summer!). Rock climbing is a dangerous sport (have you seen the movie: “Cliffhanger”?). I “try” not to think about it too much when I know he’s doing a difficult climb. But that’s what moms do—worry about their “children”! This is Jeremy’s last note to me before he left for the “Disneyland” of rock climbers:
“Mom, just wanted to let you know I stopped by to say 'goodbye'; I’m sorry I missed you! I will make sure I come back in one piece (maybe two) and take tons of pictures just for 'U.' See you on June 30—my 'B-DAY'—25 years old. Love, Jer!” (Yes, I missed saying “goodbye”!) Doesn’t he write nicely for a high school teacher (he's a poet too!)?
I took that note, along with the first picture I have of him in Yosemite (age three, throwing rocks!), a photo of Yosemite Chapel, and tacked them up on my bulletin board as a prayer reminder: “Lord, please keep Jeremy safe and bring him back in 'one' piece!”
Which all brings me to number “ONE” on my passionate to-do list: “Seeing my children through safe passage into adulthood.” I have done that! This year they are now twenty and twenty-five. And guess what? They are “passionate” about life!
Jer discovered his passion for the “rock” at age fourteen, shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a great escape for him (who wants to see “Mom” suffer?). So we sent him indoors to a rock climbing gym (hint: they have spotters!); then later outdoors (I watched him with eyes half shut); and much later came weeklong climbing trips (I prayed: “Oh Lord, couldn’t my ‘boys’ be passionate about playing an instrument—like the violin instead?). Jeremy worked through his pain and loss on the rock: “A Metaphor for Life” (for a copy of his college entrance essay, just e-mail me). This summer a lifelong dream was realized, climbing in Yosemite for ten days—the “summit” of his passions!
In the book, Conversations on Faith, I write: “Cancer was once a huge boulder, so large I couldn’t see beyond it. Then as time went on, I saw it more like a rock; the path was less obstructed. Then cancer became more like a pebble in my shoe—annoying to have it there—but I didn’t want to stop and take it out. Now, it’s more like grains of sand; a constant presence, a friendly reminder of the once huge boulder that stood in my way!”
Friends, it doesn’t matter if you’re hang gliding off a cliff, climbing “El Cap,” working in a “tollbooth,” being a greeter at Wal-Mart, writing, or taking pictures of sunsets; if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, God will use you in ways you never thought possible!
I’m convinced that God wants us to be “passionate people,” and then and only then, will we realize our God-given potential! But first, we need to be connected to the “Passion-Giver.” Through my tragedy, pain, and loss, I made a “U-Turn” toward my passions and I’ve never looked back!
I will leave you with a classic book on pain and suffering. If you haven’t read it yet, grab yourself a copy: You Gotta Keep Dancin’ by Tim Hansel. Put this one at the “top” of your passionate to-read list!
It’s been a joy to share my passions with you this week (I told you that I would be using that word a lot)!
Remember: Passionate people don’t give up . . . they pass it on!
From God’s Word: “The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV).
Tomorrow: The end . . . or is it the beginning?
Living Life Passionately,
My Blog: Living Passionately!
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