Yesterday I learned of the death of a friend.

His name was Bob.

Bob and I met through Facebook, of all places, as a result of a large number of mutual friends; climbing friends (the best kind).

It was Girl Scout Cookie Season in 2010 and I mentioned in a bragging fashion that my grocery store was inundated by girls in green with boxes of cookies to sell. Bob had Thin Mint envy – and thus we met.

Bob’s story was similar to mine, kinda. Eating delicious foods without the benefit of exercise was his life until his young son happened upon the climbing gym. His son quickly loved the sport and showed amazing promise. Being the loving father he was, he too took up the sport – and it changed his life. He taught himself to make delicious food that was good, too, and began getting out to exercise. He headed over to the Delaware Rock Gym during it’s early days of construction to do everything and anything he could to help get it built so he and his son would have a place to climb.

Bob loved climbing. He loved the people. He loved being able to see the tangible proof of his hard work and mastering himself physically and mentally. He loved every chance he had to go with his son to beautiful places with wonderful people and climb rocks.

Tuesday while climbing in one of these beautiful places with wonderful people being belayed by his son, Bob died of a heart attack.

I am grateful to have known him and I’m happy for him that climbing gave him so much. I climb because of the clear picture I have of who I am and what I have the strength to do and overcome. I know this was true for Bob – we spoke of it endlessly one night long ago.  

Faith, Hope, and Trust

There are very few things we can accomplish in our daily lives without trust. I’d even be willing to go out on a limb and say there isn’t anything we can accomlpish without it.

I believe trust to be inherent, at least initially. As babies we trust ourselves and it makes us fearless. We fearlessly take step after step because “of course we can” and our trust is so complete in ourselves and our abilities that not being able to conquer a thing, like putting a shoe on a foot, leaves us utterly frustrated. We know we can, so why can’t we?! Our trust in others is inherent, too. We have no reason to doubt things could be any other way so our trust in others is often absolute which makes keeping us safe so daunting a task for our parents.

It is the living of life in connection with people that we begin to lose this inherentness of trust. A toddler tears your favorite toy from your grasp. Mama wasn’t where you thought you had left her. A friend was trashing you behind your back. The man you had given your heart to tossed it aside. Trust becomes a prize to be earned and a gift to be given.

I understand the wisdom of this new thoughtfulness in trusting but the loss of the hope and faith which made trust so inherent saddens me greatly. I want to trust inherently again. I want to have the hope and the faith in me, again, that my trust will not be misplaced and to know that if it is it will not keep me from openly and faithfully trusting again. My trust in people is mine to give, not theirs to earn.

As I neared the top of the climb on the sharp end of the rope 5 feet beyond my last clip with no strength left in me to secure the rope in the clip near my shoulder; I let go of the wall and took the fall. As I fell passed my last clip, then the clip below that, then the clip below that, and began to near the ground, my trust in my partner was absolute, I gave it to him freely, and he caught me…3 feet off the ground.