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Sabbath Day – A Climbing Icon

April 18, 2013

Sabbath Day is a weekly post to keep me accountable for observing a weekly time of rest and  restoration. It is a day for myself, my family, and ultimately for God to use.

A very satisfying day. With my sermon already finished for Sunday, I spent most of this day in a warm, sunlit room reading psychology, family systems and biblical commentary. I had a nice conversation with my mom, sharing our frustrations over the senate failure to to take the most common sense measures to prevent the 100,000 gun injuries year, 32,000 of which are deadly, half of those being suicide. Then we discussed what we would each do next to move this struggle forward.

Early this morning a friend from Long Island tagged me is a post accompanied by this next picture and the words, “Here’s something to aspire to. Now THAT’S Rock Climbing!” I’d seen the photo before, and it is impressive. I can’t recall where this is, and yes, it is to aspire to.


August and I are training to do some real rock climbing during our vacation out West this summer, and actually have plans to spend a day climbing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, near Mt. Rushmore. This is a photo of the location we will be ascending in just three months.




With this in mind, August and I spent the afternoon in the gym working some new problems. August has progressed to what the instructors call “all feet” climbing – working particular problems with his hands but letting his feet find whatever purchase they can. Today he climbed a 5.4, and then two 5.5 before moving to a more difficult wall. He ended with a real (though unrated) workout, pushing himself harder than he has before. I was proud of his effort, and impressed with his accomplishment. He did such a happy dance at the end I wished I had had a video camera.

Now, to the title of this post. Earlier this week I came across an old copy of Climbing magazine and read a story about a German boy who had fled Nazi Germany during the second World War for sanctuary in France. And sanctuary he found, literally. In France he took religious vows and entered a monastery (unnamed as to location or order) where he received permission from the abbot to climb during his free time. Climbing connected him to his childhood in Germany. Eventually he trained other monks to climb and to belay, and marked out trails on the monastery grounds of ever increasing difficulty. One trail examined by the author of the article was easy a 5.13c (impressive since it was climbed with primitive equipment in the 1960s).

Accompanying the article was this faux woodcut of the monk, displaying the struggle to ascend physically and spiritually, the sun above and the barbed wire of Nazi Germany below. Climbing and prayer seem united in this monk as he utilizes developed skill and  training to work the problem, evident in the muscles of his body and the determination of his gaze. It is my new icon.


Noelle returned from her travels this evening, and we are together again as a family. I have opened a bottle of wine, and once August is asleep we will begin watching Downton Abbey, Season 3. Please, no spoilers.

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