Since starting the blog I have wanted to explain why I love climbing so much. It’s hard to explain because it doesn’t serve a function, it is a lot of work, and I often end up with sore muscles scrapes and bruises. The next few post are my attempt at an explanation.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about climbing is the community. It is not an activity very easily or safely accomplished alone. It places you in a situation where you are depending on someone and they are depending up on you. Beyond that, I may be biased, but I think climbers are cool people.
I’m a pretty strong introvert, but when I’m with climbers at a crag I am instantly more relaxed. I am terrible at small talk and clam up around new people, unless they are climbers. It’s like we instantly have a bond in the fact that we are choosing to challenge our physical strength out in nature by literally climbing up a wall. For practical purposes it’s a pointless venture, but yet it gives me joy. For the past month I’ve been staying at the Smith Rock campground. Since I’ve been here there has not been a day when I wanted to climb but couldn’t find a partner. On the contrary, last week I struggled to take a rest day because there were so many good people and good climbs waiting.
I know that not everyone gets the same joy from climbing that I do, however I think there are similar communities all over. I’ve been amazed to learn about all of the “niche” activities that people participate in. I recently experienced a little of the road biking world on Ragbrai, I experienced the running world during my marathon training. There are also communities of ultimate frisbee players, hikers, quilters, glass artists, farmers, nutritionists, scrap bookers, high pointers, and more. The list is endless.
As a Christian, I feel like my niche provides a venue of non-believers among whom I can try to live like Jesus. My hope is that along the way friends will see that I live my life a little differently than our culture and ask why. As much as I have a passion for climbing, it will never define who I am or the way I live, Christ will always fill that role.
What is your niche? What gets you excited? What makes you feel most alive? I hope that you can come up with an answer to that question quickly. If not, I challenge you to find your niche.