Believe it or not, that first image is indeed me, when I was hardly acquainted with Gravity. In fact, there was only a feeble connection with the Law that would come to be so dominant in my life. I skipped everywhere, I climbed trees, I was hardly ever still. When I was still, it was to contemplate very unweighty visions and flights of fancy, to do with FLYING, and FAIRIES and Floating in filmy fabric. (What a light letter ‘f’ is).
As time has passed, my flimsy connection to gravity has progressively become more solid. So much so, that now I regard gravity with – well – gravity. My childhood was spent like this:
If I was not exactly flying, I was certainly not earth-bound. My sister and I spent hours making wings and flapping around the house as fairies. At school, lacking wings, my friends and I were mermaids, floating in currents of deep green water between the trees surrounding the school.
For much of my early adult life, I managed to maintain a respectful distance from Gravity, albeit profoundly aware of its existence. It never particularly slowed me down, or stopped my plans to scale heights in my dreams. In my late thirties, I climbed up into Alpine regions, with some heavy breathing and no little effort, but it was possible.
I can’t tell you when exactly my dislike of ‘UP’ as over against ‘DOWN’ became palpable, but that tide turned gradually until now there is a deep seated part of me that is very aware of whether the path ahead is going to require ‘up’ and just how steeply that might be. The fairy has become trapped in a moon suit, bearing heavy metal shoes to ground me to the earth.
Or so it seems.
Which is why it is SUCH a feat to contemplate Sam Heughan’s #MyPeakChallenge. I know what will happen if I don’t keep moving, keep rising, keep choosing to go up slopes. It seems that my body has a natural inclination (yeah, I see the pun) to become more and more attached to the earth as life goes by. It started off light and airy, and as time slips by draws closer and closer to the very earth from which it sprang, until eventually it is encased once more in the cool depths. I. AM. GOING. TO. RESIST. THAT. AS. LONG. AS. I. LIVE. You see, my spirit is and always has been just like this:
My spirit is only tethered to the earth by means of my soul, and neither of them are affected by gravity. In fact, my soul is somewhat more bubbly, effervescent, and joyful than most.
Not for a moment will either soul or spirit be weighed down or finish in the ground. And so, when I have to pause before I stand up, and feel the creaking of knees – and am aware as I walk of tenderness in the lower back – I choose to endure it for the good of my soul. I earnestly attempt to eat well and with restraint (sometimes). And seeing a challenge in the weekend, as I did, of a distant notch in the forested peak, put on my shoes and pull myself – with an effort and a number of stops – up to reach that height.
Yes, many go much further and more often, and I salute them. Each of us know our own limitations, and there will always be thinner, lighter, more successful friends. And thank the Lord, they come with me and encourage me. It doesn’t worry me too much that Gravity and I are so well acquainted now (but barely talking!). In the end, he’s going to get this old body and welcome to it! Meanwhile and until then, I’m not bound by gravitas in my spirit and soul and never will be. Neither are you. Remember that.