I’m not a mountain climber and my fear of heights will probably keep me off any steep cliffs for a long time. But that’s not to say I haven’t done my share of strenuous hiking in my time and in relatively remote areas. Those times out in the wild have taught me valuable lessons when it comes to handling stressful life events – never go alone!
If you have kept up on many of my posts here, you’ll know that I love the outdoors. It is something that percolates through out many areas of my life. I love hiking and exploring new wild areas and maybe discovering something I have never seen before. The climb, the terrain, it is all a challenge that I willingly accept.
If I’m out in a familiar area such as Starved Rock or Matthiesson State Park, I’m not too concerned about what would happen in an emergency. There are enough hikers that help is not to far away.
But from my experience as a paramedic, I have learned that emergencies can happen any where at anytime and can be severely compounded when you are alone. I always stress to my kids the first rule when we are out in the wild – safety first, fun second!
We use the buddy system to cross slippery rocks, narrow paths along cliffs, anywhere where there is an elevated risk or danger or anywhere that one of us needs that little bit of extra help. The stronger one goes a head and then helps the others cross. Even climbing those dang stairs at Starved Rock, my seventeen year old daughter had to help me climb, pulling me along when my energy had all but evaporated.
We were there for each other.
I have tried to teach my kids that those times in the wild, helping each other - using the buddy system, translate into many other areas of our lives
In life, we go through some pretty stressful events like the death of a close family member or friend, cancer or some other hideous disease, facing family or friends that may have hurt us in the past or divorce. These events take a toll on us, our bodies and minds are stressed beyond comprehension.
I know that over the last year, while I was going through my divorce, there was one person that was constantly there for support, a refuge when I felt hurt and alone, a times a neutral party with a seasoned, experienced, objective view that I so desperately needed. There is no way on God’s green earth that I could have ever survived the last year with out her. I guess that is the definition of a best friend.
I will say that God’s timing was perfect. In a time that I was climbing this mountain, He provided that partner that had climbed this mountain before. With her experience, she was the strength I needed to cross over the slippery rocks. She knew where I could grab to gain my balance. She was there when I fell. She kicked my butt to keep moving when my feet just didn’t want to take another step.
Going through life is tough enough. Going through it alone is not how God intended for us to live.
“Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Ecclesiastes 4:11-13
Life is going to throw major obstacles in our way. Sometimes they are mere bumps in the road, but sometimes they feel like Mount Everest.
Inexperienced hikers and climbers die every year because they tried to go it alone. They failed to take that one precaution of having a partner to lean on.
We all learned the buddy system when we were little. Our teachers would tell us to hold our buddies hand so that we didn’t get lost.
When we were kids, we held our parents hand anytime we went somewhere we didn’t know.
Sometimes as adults, we can get lost just as easily. Sometimes as adults, we forget that we still need that hand to hold, that shoulder to lean on, that push to keep us moving. As adults, when we face those times in our lives that seem to overwhelm us, we have to remember that we still need to have that partner, that friend. we have to remember that God designed us to use the buddy system.
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