Lessons from the Zipline

ziplining 1

We headed to Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center this summer to do the Aerial Excursion Tour.

It was 3 hours of ziplining bliss. From the website:

“The zip line spans are long and fast, with amazing views throughout the course. The Tour will start with a short hike to the entrance of the course. Then you can traverse up our sky bridge to enter into the Canopy of the trees. The first zip line is 500 ft., and after that the lines vary from 300 to 800 ft. with various pitches and running speeds, with a total of 7 zip lines. This course will give you an unforgettable experience. You will also enjoy 3 Sky bridges transferring you from platform to platform in the middle of our course. Then at the end, there is a 40 foot vertical descent to the forest floor via a DEUS controlled descent device!

This is the same camp where our church district holds children’s camp, so both girls and I had been here before and took on the shorter zipline course. From the get-go we were hooked!

ziplining 4

To begin we donned our helmets and safety harnesses. Then, we hiked a short trail to the first platform. The thing about ziplining, about life in general is this….whenever you’re doing something hard, something challenging, something worth doing-that first step, stepping off into the unknown, is hard.

It’s the step that, after you take it, you’re committed. There is no turning back.

Stepping off the platform takes you into an exhilarating, scary-but-worth-doing, ride. After one, two, three lines-flying, landing, flying again-after a couple of air bridges from one platform to the next we caught a peek into the created world, seeing the birds and deer, a couple of bunnies in their everyday doing what they do.

There was another couple with us. A retired couple checking things off the bucket list that they had been making while raising their four children. This was their time. That day was a spontaneous stop for them on their East Coast Lighthouse Tour, a drive from Virginia to Northern Maine.

They were, I’d guess in their mid-sixties, with as much energy as anything I’d seen. She was scared. He was wearing a Go-Pro. She was the first one to take the first step. He was right behind her video taping the whole thing. She held no hesitation. Zero. Taking that step, I imagine, like she had taken on everything else with life….with confidence and gusto.

She was the first one to hang upside down, completely letting go of the handle and allowing herself to fly uninhibited across hundreds of feet of line and a good amount of space between she and the ground.

Mr. Retiree went. Jeremy went. Anna and Kaitlyn went. It was my turn.

My turn to prove to my kids and a couple a few years and a season of life older than I, that I could be brave too.

I stepped off the platform, turned my legs to reach the sky and let go.

Despite knowing that my harness would hold me, despite knowing the zipline was more than adequate and despite knowing that the guide was right there waiting for me it was scary to just let go.

Life lessons, it seems, come from the greatest moments that require something of us. And when we reach the platform, where the guide is there waiting for us, we are more and more prepared for the next step.

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