Thursday, September 16, 2010

Beware the sag in the zip line

 "If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again."--Groucho Marx

My students used to love to sidetrack me into telling one of my stories. As the dreamy look glazed my eyes, and I launched into an animated reverie, they would give each other a grin and cast a furtive eye at the ticking minutes on the classroom clock. I knew what they were doing, but figured there were valuable lessons to be had in life stories as well as in textbooks.

And so,when my friend, Lorie, responded to my post about leaving the rat life behind, with a comment that she could now call me a swinger, I was reminded of the time. . .

We were zip lining through the rain forest. It was the third time I had taken a mission team to work at the Home of Life for children in Costa Rica. Each year, on our day off, the team opted for the canopy tour. We hiked high into the forest, donned helmets and safety harnesses, and whizzed along a cable strung from one tree stand to another. Since I had already done this several times, I was confident that I could hold on with one hand and manage the camcorder with the other to get some live video of the experience.

I waited until we got to the longest stretch of cable. "Keep up your speed," the guide warned. "There's a sag in the middle and if you go too slow, you won't be able to make the rise to the platform. Either you'll have to haul yourself in, or someone will have to go get you."

I stepped off the stand and entrusted my body to the harness. The cable zinged, as I sailed along. But in the attempt to get the camcorder at a better angle, I twisted myself around--just enough to slow down--just before The Sag. As I began the upward slope to the platform, I could hear the dread in the guide's voice as he hollered, "You're not going to make it. Grab the cable so you don't slide back."

Letting the camera hang from my neck, I reached up and started hauling myself, hand over hand, as we had been shown. My friends on the platform twenty or thirty feet away, tried to help reel me in with their calls of encouragement. The guide, who probably didn't want to have to go get me and haul us both in, ordered me on,"Pull, pull."

But the last fifteen feet might as well have been a hundred. I had no more strength. I hung there like a pair of wet pants on a clothesline.

The point is, ah, yes, there is a point. The theme that's running through my mind lately is that God is doing a new thing, not only in my life, but in many of the lives around me. But new things don't usually pop up over night. There is a space between old and new, between then and now, between here and there. And sometimes in that interface between one thing and another, there's a sag. We get stuck. We don't think we can make it to the other side. Our friends' cheers lack the power to pull us in. We don't like hanging there, but can't do anything about it.

Thank God for the One who has been watching us all along, the One with strength enough to rescue, the One who hooks us to His belt, wraps His arms around us and hauls us in. Thank God for the assurance He won't leave us hanging in the sag between here and there.

 If you have any thoughts on new things, old things, or the space in between, join in the conversation.

P.S. Didn't want to poke through all my stored-away pictures for a personal one, so I took the above shot from the web site of Monteverde Canopy Tours.


  1. Wow! I loved that! This writing thing has a HUGE sag in the middle. Don't despair, though, and don't give up.

    I wrote about quitting here at

    See, when you hit that snag, it will help that you're a swinger! :)

  2. Hey Lori, You're always such an encouragement. Tried to get back from the hairdressers before you read the post so I could correct the spelling of your name!

  3. Marcia,

    I remember this! I believe it was the trip I took with you to Costa Rica! Sweet memories! I appreciated your comments on how God is doing new things but it is those in between times we can get discouraged. I am seeing this in my own life. As I sat in my new Bible Study at church that started this week. "Faithful, Abundant & True" by: Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore & Kay Arthur. One of them said I can't remember who "God loves us enough to not allow us to stay "comfortable" or "where we are at". I thought wow, that was me. Last year I was content with my walk and thought "I don't see it going deeper or being more then this". Who knew God would take away everything from me that I held dear to show me how much more He wants for me & my relationship with Him! I am grateful & the dark times earlier this year were tough but now I am beginning to reap the blessings & what truly amazing blessings they are. Thanks again for your post. Your walk with the Lord inspires and encourages me Marcia. Thank you for being a woman of God :)


  4. Great lesson and thoughts, Marcia. Hope to see you Monday night at the group, and I LOVE your background on your blog! Keep up the good work!

  5. Marcia,

    You are a very gifted writer. I loved this story--and your skill in telling it made it even better. We've all been there--and sometimes the sag sneaks in where we are not expecting it.

    Prayers for your continued success. I am blessed to know you.


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