Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Journey Above A Jamaican Jungle

Happy New Year to everyone!  When a new year comes, many of us make resolutions to do something, or to change a behavior.  January 1st means a fresh start.  When you make that resolution, do you consider what it’s going to take to achieve it?  One way that people achieve their goals is to find another person to help them.  This person is usually someone who has experience with achieving the goal, or has been trained in how to do it.  When you’re looking for that person, one trait that is vitally important is integrity.  Integrity is all about being honest and fair.  People with integrity are complete.  They are confident.  They stick to their code of morals and they don’t sway. 
When I decided to begin training to run a 5k last Fall, I contacted several people for advice and encouragement.  They were people that I knew had been successful in running, and I knew that I could trust them.  It would have been easy for me to contact someone that I knew would make it sound easy, and tell me it’s okay if I take a week off, etc..dumb, but easy.  Instead, I sought out people who had the experience to know that it’s tough, and there would be days when I just didn’t want to do it, and my body would hurt, but they would still encourage me with their words of wisdom and accomplishments in that area.
The photos above are from a trip to Jamaica that my family and I just returned from.  While there, my daughter wanted to go zip-lining. So, we went.  My family, another family of 4, and two older couples got in a van with a complete stranger and drove to the middle of the jungle (no, seriously) to zip-line.  Then, we signed our lives away, got helmets, and strapped in harnesses, by these young Jamaican men who didn’t look a day over 25. Then, one guide, Bones, proceeded to describe the process, show us the equipment, and the safety features that the company used.  It did reassure me, and let me know that he knew what he was talking about.  He spoke from experience.
 After riding to the top of a large hill, the harness was connected to this other piece of equipment that was attached to a set of cables, which is high above the treetops. One guide, Bones, went over to the first platform to catch us, while the other, Robby, stayed to strap us in and do a 4 point check on each buckle, clip, etc. on our equipment before sending us off to zip.  Then he would follow.

I never imagined that I would step off a platform and hang suspended on a cable through the Jamaican jungle. Never.  Now, my fear wasn’t being that high up  it was getting stuck in the middle.  See, they told us all kinds of stuff like to let go and you could spin ( not doing that), spread out arms and legs and play with the wind (not doing that either), and that if you get stuck before you get to the end, not to panic because they would come get you, but to relax and have fun because if you’re too tense, you will run out of gas and not make it over.
The first time I stepped off the platform, I could see the other platform as well as those who went before me, and as much as I love my family, I was looking for Bones, because if I got stuck, that’s who was coming to get me and he knew what he was doing.  By the way, the first zip was long enough for me to recite the Lord’s Prayer.  The 5th and last one was long enough to recite it twice and the wind made the cable sway a lot. When it was over, I was glad I did it because it was a lot of fun and I did something I never thought I would do.
As you can see from the photos, I never let go, but I did smile.  My husband, son, and daughter did let go and spun around and played with the wind.  They weren’t worried about keeping their knees up to keep momentum so they wouldn’t slow down too much and get stuck in the middle.
When you have a goal, I encourage you not to be afraid of getting stuck in the middle.  Keep your eyes on it,  and keep your integrity as you achieve your goal.  Just like the wind made my cable sway on that last zip, things are going to come into your life that are going to make you want to sway from your code of morals because it’s easier.  Don’t give in.  Find someone who you trust that can help you achieve your goal, no matter what it is, and as our Jamaican zip-line friends said, “Play with the wind”. More importantly, be a person of integrity that others can trust to help them.  Be willing to take a leap of faith.

 Kim McClure

Passages to Ponder:
Proverbs 10:9- People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.
Proverbs 11:20- The Lord detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity.
Psalms 37:37- Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.

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