It may not look like it now but in college I used to rock climb all the time. It works your mind, body, and will all at once. You have to climb smart to be any good. Smarts alone won’t cut it though if you can’t pull yourself along sometimes. Both smarts and strength though can be rendered useless if you don’t have the perseverance and confidence to trust your grip or positioning to keep you on the wall when it counts. Anyway, all this climbing experience came back to me when I first heard the song, “Nothing I Hold Onto” (don’t know it? Listen to it here).
“Nothing I Hold Onto” is a great praise and worship song. It is simple and easy to enter. The lyrics are specific enough to make a prayer but vague enough to make your own. When I first heard it I loved it stylistically. One problem. I don’t listen for style. I’m a lyrics person. So, when we got around to the line “I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open” I got distracted. I’m listening like, “Really Will Reagan? Climbing with my hands wide open. That is called falling.”
That is when my son, Ignatius, popped in my head. Iggy was about 1 at the time. When he decided walking was a little too pedestrian for him, he would come to me or my wife with his arms up and hands wide open. Every parent knows that is the universal sign for “Mommy, Daddy, pick me up.”
Suddenly, Will Reagan didn’t seem like he needed a physics lessons. Instead, I saw that he understood the Father’s love better than I did. Climbing this mountain with our hands wide open is running to God with arms up and hands wide open.
We climb this mountain with our hands wide open because our Father stoops low and lifts us to new heights, giving us a new perspective, and broadening our horizon.
“We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 1)