Jumping off cliffs

I was away this past weekend at the Abernethy Trust outdoor centre in Nethy Bridge, helping out at a youth trip away with my old church in Inverness.

ZipslidingThe weekend was an exhausting but fun-packed time of various outdoor activities such as rock climbing, archery, canoeing, zipslides, assault courses, silly games, and not much sleep. I was really glad that Chris, Hilton’s youth worker, invited me along to help out because I really enjoyed the trip and the chance to catch up with folk.

However, some activities involved two of my great fears – water and heights. I opted out of the canoeing without a moment’s hesitation, but tried to confront my vertigo by taking on the rock climbing and abseiling. It made me realise how infrequently I push myself in this way, because with both of them I tried and quit twice, despite the reassurances from the staff members working with us. Later on we did crate climbing – building a tower of crates as high as you can, climbing up it while held by safety ropes. I redeemed myself by putting in a valiant performance.

I think the difference there was that fellow group leaders (who I knew well and who I knew fully appreciated my fear) were holding my safety ropes, rather than centre staff who didn’t know me at all. That I trusted my friends more than the centre staff made me realise that earning and giving trust is more about knowing people well and building friendships, rather than just having the skills, qualifications and experience for the task in hand.

Less dramatically but perhaps just as daunting, Chris had invited me to do the “God slot” on the Saturday night. I spoke a little about trying figure out what God’s plan was for our lives, and touched on various bits of the Bible including Job to illustrate that sometimes stuff happens to us which is less about our interests and more about God’s greater plans.

I also explained a bit about what had happened in my life since moving to Glasgow, such as my church search. I described how my blog review of St Silas that commented on the lack of welcome led to lots of email feedback, some interesting experiences on my second visit, and most recently me being asked to help out on the welcome team (now is that irony or poetic justice? I’m not sure).

Sigur Ros - GlosoliI kicked off the session by playing one of my favourite music videos, Glosoli by Sigur Ros. The surreal but beautifully shot video (which I’ve blogged about before) portrays a boy walking through bleak Icelandic scenery, drawing other children to him who follow without question or hesitation (and you know kids, that’s just like Jesus…). It ends with the boy leading the group up a steep hill where they run off a cliff – no safety ropes, tut tut – and fly into the air and far out to sea.

But there’s one bit right at the end when a wee boy who has been struggling to keep up falls far behind the rest of the group, and when he reaches the edge of the cliff, he just jumps and falls. And then the video ends. We had a bit of a debate at the end of the evening about what we thought that meant and what happened to him, and whether that meant he was being abandoned or was just going off in a different direction or something.

What do you think happens to him?

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