Climbing upward

An academic tsunami crashed on top of me in November. The reading, studying and working on various projects piled up. Oh, yeah. This all must be completed by early December.

My exercise routine suffered. I had to resort to exercising only once a week. But I was feeling cooped up in seminary.

My fellow seminarian Jeremy suggested rock climbing on Nov. 14. Brother Rafael, he and I went to Central Rock Gym in Watertown. I had forgotten a lot from the last trip in September. I had to be reminded about proper belaying techniques and tying knots.

The climbing was so fun that we had forgotten to take pictures. But I found these pictures of our first trip to Central Rock Gym in September.

Fellow seminarians Brother Rafael (from left), Joel and I tackle a rock climbing wall in September 2015.
Fellow seminarians Brother Rafael (from left), Joel and I tackle a rock climbing wall at Central Rock Gym in Watertown, Mass., in September 2015. (Courtesy of Father Tom Carzon, OMV)
I almost reached the top of this course in September 2015. But I was stymied many times. Brenden, a fellow seminarian, was belaying me.
I almost reached the top of this course at Central Rock Gym in Watertown, Mass., in September 2015. But I was stymied many times. Brenden, a fellow seminarian, was belaying me. (Courtesy of Father Tom Carzon)

I managed to climb the easiest course, but I faltered on the advanced levels. Jeremy succeeded at a few advanced routes. But Brother Rafael was the best with succeeding at conquering the next two levels (after many tries).

Here are a few lessons from rock climbing that could apply to everyday moments:

  1. Have a firm footing: I had to remember this lesson. Better rock climbing requires using legs to step up instead of pulling up by the arms. When I resorted to using only my arms, I tired sooner and I had to be lowered down. All our footings must be values, virtues, beliefs and character.
  2. Think where you need to go: The easier courses have only one path up. The harder courses offer red herrings that leave you stuck. A few minutes looking at the course before climbing could save you much frustration later.
  3. Have a friend watch out for you: Suggestions and encouragement from below could be the difference between finishing the climb and giving up.

Rock climbing was a nice alternative to my usual workout DVD. I need to make sure that I go back there before heading home for Christmas.

Climb higher.

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