The way up is down.
I read it this week. Richard Rohr, who is not just Catholic, but a priest. Symbolic, right? What martyr, religious figure, what literary hero or heroine….didn’t have to go down, down, down, in order to achieve? Yet our current culture likes a success story. An “I’m on top of the world” story. Money and comfort. Not the transcendence through darkness and night into something beautiful. Growth is underrated.
That’s what I thought about as I hiked at Red River Gorge today. I have mentioned before in my blog, at least I think I have….that RRG is one of my favorite places in Kentucky. And here we are in October, so it’s even better than usual. Leaves changing. Cooler temperatures.
Back to the descent. Today’s hiking took me down. Down to the bottom of a, I’m not sure what to call it, ravine? I’d say most who visit the area want to climb Natural Bridge. I have. Multiple times. It’s popular. It provides for a view of the surrounding area. Miles and miles, due to the height. But from up there, well, you only get the big picture. You don’t see what you see down below.
In other words, you miss a bunch.
Looking up from the bottom is a whole lot different than looking down from above.
I am thankful for the climb. Back out of the forest.
From under the rocks and dark places.
My thirty year high school reunion is currently happening. And obviously I didn’t go or I wouldn’t be out hiking by myself. I keep getting the updates. Every time I look at Facebook. And yes, yes I know I could turn the notifications off so there aren’t little numbers waiting for me. Telling me so…and….so posted a photo. I recognize people. Some I met in kindergarten, which was even longer ago than thirty years (obviously). Some people I do not recollect. Who are they? Did I go to kindergarten with them? Doubtful. But I’m not there, I’m here. And I’m glad because I’m not a great mingler and it seems that’s the type of situation a reunion would afford.
Thursday night was my workplace’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Our annual banquet. Lots of people. And it was a success, which is good news. Yet I can’t help think it’s a lot. To process. So many people in one room. And no, no it wasn’t all on me to make it happen, by any means. I just played a small role, but it still, for me, takes some alone time afterwards to get me back on track. The people who know. Parts of my story which I’d prefer they didn’t. And there, there they are. Offering a kind hello….nice to see you. Me standing, wondering…..what do they speculate as the reasons? It can be….more than I prefer to encounter.
Don’t look back.
That’s what I also thought about today during my time at RRG. Well, maybe it’s okay to look back. But don’t kick myself for not being somewhere else. Farther or closer or wherever. And don’t bother being someone else. Because that’s impossible. Where I’m supposed to be and who with….will be.
I have, figuratively, climbed out. On a day when I feel a bit more dramatic than usual….it’s a dark hole I’ve reemerged from. Other days, it’s the staircase I didn’t expect but managed. Either way, in doing so, I helped prepare myself for the second half. Which is something Rohr, whom I mentioned above, talks about a lot. The second half of life. And how if you don’t go through something rather difficult, you won’t have much of a second half. So I suppose my next 30+ years should be fantastic! Not really….it’s just I’ve learned a great deal, because of the darkness. But fixating on it won’t do me much good. Moving on…
Up is down. Which is totally opposite of sensical. [I just looked it up and apparently sensical is not an official word, as of today….maybe it will become one.] So let me rephrase….Up is down. Which is totally nonsensical [yes, it IS a word.]