bottom of the hill

am looking out the window this morning at a snow-covered terrain. but i am thinking back to those days in early january when the temps soared to the mid-fifties. when mid-winter days offered chances to do things i could not otherwise do this time of year. on sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago i drove to pilot knob and parked at the front gate. dry pavement, leather gloves, and a heart set on doing something challenging. physically demanding. for me, there are times when i just need to do something outside the realm of accessibility. outside the realm of  it’s comforts. i had some things i needed to work out. to think through. and so, to push myself. as paul writes about in corinthians when he says “i buffet my body and make it my slave.” so i took to the hills of the state park. using my arms as my legs and meeting the challenges of gravity that would otherwise keep me at the bottom of the hill. 

as the sign near the top of pilot knob says, this is the second highest elevation in the state of iowa. some 1450 feet above sea level. and i made it to the sign, although not all the way up to the observation tower. but don’t be deceived by how this sounds. i didn’t start at sea level and i didn’t make it all the way to the observation tower. the gates were closed and chained, blocking access to the last 50 or 75 feet of elevation.

two thirds of the way up the last and what seemed like the steepest of the slopes to the top was a series of droppings. back on the farm we called it horse%&#@. now that i’m grown up and a refined person, i would call it horse%&$*. and my thought as i turned to the other side of the road to keep it off my wheels and hands was, “i guess i’m not the only one working out some of my crap here today [literally speaking for the horse, figuratively speaking for the man on wheels].”

honestly, over the years since iv’e been paralyzed, i have come to look at the possibilities of my life through the lens of limits. how steep is that grade? how many steps are there? are the doorways 36 inches wide? how much of a turning radius is there in the bathroom? those kinds of things. because those limits answer questions for me like, how high can i go? how far into a building can i make it? and how long can i stay? such are some of the physical limits.

perhaps even more significant, though, is how that can affect my thinking in other areas. the physical bleeds into the mental, emotional, spiritual parts of my life as well. i see limits and those limits define the parameters of possibility. and i ask similar questions such as how high can i go? how far in can i make it? how long can i stay? and sometimes, those are the things that trouble me most about myself and  how i take on the life, the hills that are in front of me. limits are limits. i just don’t want to embrace more of them than is absolutely necessary. i want to live with more of a sense of hope than limitation. i don’t know about you, but i don’t want to spend my life at the bottom of the hills.

“our ability to endure, to persevere, to overcome is fueled by this one seemingly innocuous ingredient called hope.”  Erwin McManus, Soul Cravings


~ by fourfeetsixinches on January 26, 2012.

10 Responses to “bottom of the hill”

  1. Yes, how we do limit ourselves by choices we make in response to events, words/actions(or non) of others. I think that as the Holy Spirit reminds of those times, it behooves us to look at them thoroughly and forgive if necessary and then choose a different/right response, not allowing the past situation to control our choices today. I have often found this easier said than done, especially with long-held wrong responses. But, I do believe that change is possible and it must begin in the spiritual realm and then persevering in the mental and physical realms. I no longer want to spend this life at the bottom of the hill either. We are called to the impossibe, because Jesus lives in us and with Him all things are possible-those things that He calls us to. May the last half of our lives on this earth be full to overflowing, living the life that brings honor and glory to the one who gives life-life beyond the physical. I have been drawn several times in the past few weeks to Jeremiah 29:11-14 (one was on the way to CO in a bathroom,one stall was disgusting so I went to the other and written on the door was this reference. God can speak to us wherever we are:)…captivity=limits=life at the bottom of the hill…hope and a future=freedom to do the impossible in the strength of the Lord.:) Perfect love cast out all fear…I want to live in the light of that perfect love…

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Marc…I certainly appreciate how you look at this. So when you say “the second half” of our lives….does that mean we are going to live to the ripe old age of 104 and 110? I guess you do believe in the “impossible” huh?!! Love you!

  2. Just can’t restrain myself…… Life can be so constipating. And unfortunatley ,what goes in must come out. Okay, if I look closer this makes me consider how I attempt to position myself with Jesus.

  3. We all have limits; we think we do anyway. I constantly think about how I am limited. I need to start to think about how I can move past this thinking and do things I never thought were possible. Thanks, Scott for your thoughts!

  4. Sorry, I keep losing my response, but your writing always to seem to touch my mind or heart. I am remindd of an encouragement by Dr. Alan Zimmerman to write down what we have learned – for ourself and then to share. So, thanks doing as he suggested – sharing what you are learning. Thanks also for your friendship.

  5. Scott, thanks again for pushing me forward in so many areas of life. Just one example is that I am sitting at the dinning room table communicating to you on a wireless internet connection. Sorry U.S. postal services. Someone once gave me a framed poster that says ” We become who our friends are”, thanks for being my friend. I still like going downhill better! dcs

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