Strength may be gained in only one way – through work. Sometimes we forget this principle. The key is to start wherever you are and take one step at a time, but one must bear increasing resistance for gains to be made. That is how life is for both the people here in Africa and in my crossfit gym at home.
Yesterday, I had the great privilege of climbing a cellular communications tower. My friend Chris made this happen for me.
Our journey began by driving beyond the outskirts of Kabwe and into the bush. Once we arrived at the base of the mountain, we started our ascent to the top in order to reach the base of the tower.
We huffed and puffed our way up the mountain steps until a beautiful vista came into focus. But that vista wasn’t the entire view. Although we had just climbed a mountain, that wasn’t the end goal.
Reaching the top of the mountain only allowed me to catch my breath to see how far we’d come. We built strength. But had we stopped there, I would have missed out on the whole point of it all – climbing the tower.
As we caught our breath, Chris granted me access to a one-in-a-lifetime behind the scenes look inside the building hosting the tower’s telecommunications hub. He explained and demonstrated the innermost workings of the hub and tower. He showed me the backbone of the network and the repeater towers and explained their strategic positioning in relation to each other. He taught me about the transmission signals. He explained how the physical infrastructure enables the transmission of a call from Zambia all the way to Canada instantaneously.
After marvelling at the plumbing of the miracle that is telecommunications, we started the ascent up the actual tower to get up close and personal with the dishes affixed to the tower.
We were not wearing harnesses and so Chris, being the gentleman he is, made me go first, so as to catch me if I fell. I started but not far behind me, he could sense the hesitation in my shaky steps. I watched my fists above my head slowly grasp the ladder rung by rung until I reached the mesh wire platform. I felt some uncertainty –but I trusted Chris.
Once I stepped on the platform, I couldn’t look up. I started looking down. I looked at my feet and saw right through to the base of the mountain very far below. I felt a little weasy. There I was – I’d reached the pinnacle and I was only looking down again. All the while, there was an incredible vista and sunset just waiting for my eyes to behold it.
I very quickly became uncomfortable looking down. So, I decided to look up again. Once I did, there before me lay paradise – a bird’s eye view of Zambia’s throbbing heart of wonders.
This was the goal. This was the objective. To stand in humble adoration of the beauty of creation as the sun cast its golden glow upon the horizon to baptize the landscape in light – to squint in the setting sun and watch her kiss the beloved earth goodnight.
Having the confidence to look up takes courage. It takes trust. But, ah, to reach the top of the tower just before your sunset, that is the goal.
Such a goal takes strength only gained one steep step at a time. Start where you are, look up and take the next step. Then take another.
Keep going. There is a sun aching to show a strong you its sky full of colour.