On January 9, I went to Costa Rica with my husband, Glen, my brother and his wife and four dear friends for some rest and fun in the sun. We had all experienced some serious challenges in 2011 and wanted get a good start in the New Year. I had hoped to write every day but when we got there, my dear friend Cheryl reminded me that the purpose of a vacation was to VACATE (abandon) all forms of work and really rest. You would think that would be easy for me after the year I’d had, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought.
We landed in San Jose at night and had over an hour’s drive to the house in Herradura Bay. The temperature was over 80 degrees which was light years from the freezing cold we left back in Ohio. By the time we arrived at the house, it was almost midnight and we all headed to bed. I got up to the most beautiful sight! There was greenery everywhere and the sounds of birds in every direction. I could smell food cooking and knew we were going to have a good time.
Let me start by saying that I thought I had a fear of heights, but I finally realized that it’s really a fear of falling. When one of our friends suggested that we go zip-lining, I thought this would be the perfect way to begin to conquer this fear. Well, when I said “yes” to the opportunity, I didn’t realize that there was more involved than just zipping from one side to the other. I didn’t ask many questions but merely went along with the group. When we got to the zip lining site, we got into harnesses, got a hard hat (we found out later that the hat would not be of much use if we actually fell!) and were given some heavy duty leather gloves. From there we went to a safety briefing where the instructor assured us that the line would safely support up to 6,000 pounds-WHOO HOO! That was a real load off of my mind!
From the instruction site, you could see people zipping down to the ground. Well, it didn’t occur to me to ask where the zip line began. When we boarded the wagon to go to the first station, I realized we were being pulled by a tractor. There were fourteen people in the wagon. As we climbed the mountain we began to slide into one another. We were way too close to the edge of the road for my comfort and all I could see was the tops of trees and the long way down! By the time we reached the top my palms were sweating and I was wondering why I ever agreed to the adventure.
Things didn’t get any better when I realized that we had to zip through 14 stations to reach the ground. We were in the forest, way above the trees and I had to trust that the line would support me and that the young people hooking me on knew what they were doing. The keep assuring me that they were well trained and that lots of people safely jumped every day.
I let a few people go ahead of me and then I stood up on the platform and readied myself for the jump. I prayed, pulled on the line and finally, with a little coaxing, I let go. Before I knew it, I was sailing through the air. The guide at the next station was waving for me to keep coming but I was holding on the line so tightly that I stopped before I made it to the station. I was thanking God for all the dips I had done during the fall and I was able to pull myself to safety. The guide told me that I was supposed to put my hand on the line guide it but not hold it too tightly until I wanted to stop. He hooked me onto the next line and I was zipping to another station. That time, I wasn’t so sacred and I actually go the hand of it.
I had no problems zipping to the next station. By the time I reached it, I was coming in so fast I had to grab on tightly and before I knew it, my harness holder was connecting with a small wooden block that was connected to a pulley system that was designed to slow me down. One again I was thanking God for the science of physics which kept me safe.
By the time I reach the last line, the guide told us that this was the longest and fastest line. We were going to be going up to 80MPH. It was so exhilarating to feel the wind and see the world zipping by. When I reached the ground I felt so accomplished and really could have done it again.
Learning to zip line is a lot like parenting. We train our children so they will have the tools they need when they leave us. Ultimately, we have to let go and allow them to zip into the life God has planned for them. They will encounter obstacles along the way but before long, they will be zipping through life. The harder part is letting go! Be encouraged! The lesson that you teach your children now will help them to safely navigate through life. There will be stoppers to slow them down when they are traveling to fast and also things to encourage them to speed up when they need to. They will have to pull themselves to safety sometimes so the lessons they learn before they leave home are vital to their survival. Parenting is an adventure so enjoy the journey!