Friday, September 16, 2011

What Is Your Rope Tied To?


Image by Doug Wheller
You may have heard of the man who decided to repair the roof of his house. The pitch was steep, and to be safe, he tied a rope around his waist and threw the other end of it over the top of the house. He called his son and asked him to tie it to something secure. The boy fastened the safety rope to the bumper of their car parked in the driveway. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

But a little while later, his wife needed to run a few errands with the automobile. Unaware of the line securing her husband, she started the car and proceeded to drive away. The rope immediately tightened and jerked the man over the roof and into thin air. Now before you become alarmed, let me assure you that this never really happened. But I chuckle at the image of the poor guy sailing over the top of his house like Evel Knievel without a motorcycle.

This story, factual or not, points to a great truth. It is a truth about where we place our security; about those things to which we’ve tied our safety lines. What is your rope tied to?

Think about it. What do you depend on to keep you from disaster? Is your rope tied to a good job? Is it tied to a relationship with somebody you rely on? Is it tied to a company or an organization?

In her wise and sensitive audio Lessons in Living, writer Susan Taylor tells of discovering how unreliable some of our safety lines really are. She tells of lying in bed in the early hours of the morning when an earthquake struck. As her house shook, she tumbled out of bed and managed to stand underneath an arched door-way in her hall, watching in horror as her whole house tumbled down around her. Where her bed had once stood, she later discovered nothing but a pile of rubble. She lost everything – every button, every dish, her automobile, every stitch of clothing.

Susan huddled, scared and crying, in the darkness. In the predawn morning she cried and called out for help.

As exhaustion set in, she thought that maybe she should be listening for rescuers rather than making so much commotion. So she grew still and listened. In the silence around her, the only sound she heard was the beating of her own heart. It occurred to her then that at least she was still alive and, amazingly enough, unhurt. She thought about her situation. In the stillness, fear abandoned her and a feeling of indescribable peace and happiness flooded in, the likes of which she had never before known. It was an experience that was to permanently change her life.

In the deepest part of her being, Susan realized a remarkable truth. She realized she had nothing to fear. Amazingly, whether or not she was ever rescued, whether she even made it out alive, she sensed she had nothing to fear.

For the first time in her life she understood that her true security did not depend on those things in which she had placed her trust. It lay deep within. And also for the first time, she knew what it was to be content in all circumstances. She realized that, in an ultimate sense, whether she had plenty or hardly enough, somehow she would be all right. She just knew it.

She later wrote, "Before the quake I had all the trappings of success, but my life was out of balance. I wasn’t happy because I was clinging to things in my life and always wanting more. My home, my job, my clothes, a relationship – I thought they were my security. It took an earthquake and losing everything I owned for me to discover that my security had been with me all along . . . There’s a power within us that we can depend upon no matter what is happening around us."

She had tied her rope to the wrong things. It took a disaster for her to understand that those things are untrustworthy. So she let go of the rope and discovered peace. She found that her true security was a power within – dependable and sure.

What is your rope tied to? And what would happen if you found the courage to let go of it?

-- Steve Goodier



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1 comment:

David Harewood said...

So the moral of both stories is this: never rely on a woman.