Climbing Wall Confidence
“Come on, Nathan! Just a little bit higher and you’ll be at the top!”
“I can’t—I want to come down!”
“Nathan, remember that you are in God’s hands. He’s always there to catch you and hold you up, and you will always be safe. When you get to the top, you can come down into God’s hands!”
I started going to Christian Science summer camp six years ago, and there I tried rock climbing for the first time ever. I had always been afraid of heights, and that first climb really put me to the test. I didn’t actually make it all the way up to the top that day, but the experience and the words the counselor said to me have always stuck with me. Camp helped me get over my fear of heights in a great way, and it also opened me up to trying new experiences and being more willing to learn new things about Christian Science.
That summer, while I climbed each day, I prayed for the strength to keep going up the wall. One day I had a sudden thought. Even if I did fall, the rope and harness would catch me—and God would protect me no matter what happened, and in everything that I did. Even the times I didn’t make it to the top, I was praying with the ideas from Hymn 148 in the Christian Science Hymnal. The lines “My Father has my treasure, / And He will walk with me” stayed in my head throughout the climb. I replaced “walk” with “climb,” and the thought of having my Father next to me, giving me the courage to continue, kept me going for as high up as I could go.
I have climbed a lot more in recent years, and have almost always successfully climbed all the way up to the top of the wall. But the thoughts of God being at my side and of having Love’s hands holding me up have changed my life beyond my attempts to climb. Before coming to Christian Science summer camp, I was a quiet boy in school. I had one or two friends, and I wasn’t very open. When I first arrived at camp, I acted the same way, but only for a week or so. I realized that the people there didn’t care about whether my shoes lit up, or if my shirt had Elmo or the Cookie Monster on it. Instead, everyone at camp cared about how I was, and who I was, and they didn’t judge me.
More than that, though, I realized that the counselors and campers saw each other as reflections of God. I saw how they cherished each person’s true spiritual identity; they expressed God’s love in everything they did, and didn’t forget about it. This attitude really helped me not to focus on people’s personalities, or how much they were being “natural,” but on how they all—both at camp and back at school—were perfect children of God. This attitude taught me so much about living Christian Science, and applying it to all different areas of my life.
I haven’t ever gone to camp without extreme excitement about what lies ahead. My friends and counselors there taught me how to be myself, so that when I came home, back to my family, friends, and school, I could be myself with my friends. After my first summer at camp I reconnected with my old friends, but made some new ones too. And I felt more comfortable sharing Christian Science with them, through words and demonstration.
For example, one day one of my friends told me she was having a bad cough, and didn’t know what to do. I offered to help, and explained a little bit about Christian Science. I told her that she was spiritually perfect, and could not be harmed in any way, shape, or form, because nothing was real but the good in thought. The friend sat for a moment, got up to get a drink, came back and told me later she didn’t cough for the rest of the day. This was one of the first healings I helped another person through, and I was very grateful for that opportunity.
Thanks to camp, I’m now more confident turning to God to help my friends through tough moments at home, or with other problems. I don’t think I would be so willing and ready to do this if I hadn’t seen and heard the stories of so many others doing the same thing at camp. For me, it is really special to know that you are making a positive difference in someone’s life.RSS feed
Topics: Fear | Tags: camp, Fear, heights, rock climbing