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“Joe, I’ve never been so stressed out in my life, there is no way that we can go to Colorado” a text message from Ann I read just last Thursday. She was right, I was stressed and overwhelmed by just the idea. My to do list before Saturday seemed as impossible as me climbing El Capitan in flip flops. However, I knew that God had put this idea in our hearts and so I prayed: “Help!”
Well against all odds Bryan, Nathan, Kim, Erick, Ann and I all made it to our Rendezvous point: Denver Colorado. And I have to say that going on a trip with our closest friends before our big day was the best idea that Ann and I have had yet. We had the time of our lives. Here are a few of the high lights:
We enjoyed some night life in Denver.
We climbed super hard routes in El Dorado Canyon.
We shopped and explored the town of Bolder!
We camped and climbed in Vedauwoo Wyoming.
Ann led some sick crack routes.
Bryan and Nathan took on some very challenging 5.9’s.
However, the wildest of our adventures was the First Flat Iron in Bolder, a 1000 foot sheer wall. All six of us summated 8 pitches in a fifteen hour epic climb! This required head lamps, a little cuddling to stay warm, and a few bold prayers by mega beast Bryan Citrin. The climb challenged each of us in our own way. We grew together as a team and I felt Ann and I grow together as a couple. The route was harder than we thought and being on top of the wall after sunset was incredibly uncomfortable. At the same time, the city lights below us and a few shooting stars above us made for a magical arrangement.
When you are cold and exposed on a knife blade ridge of a huge spire you have every right to whine, complain, and give into a poor attitude. That’s perfectly normal. Most of us go there with our discomfort and fear. However, it was so wonderful to see the team overcome, to huddle together, to sing songs while on belay, to laugh, and to be encouraging to one another. On one of the last belays the wind was really howling and the cold ran right through my core. I snuggled up next to Ann for some extra warmth and she leaned into me. She had every right to be bitter toward me. I’m the one who got us on the 8 pitch route ‘accidentally’ instead of the 4 pitch route that we had planned. I can’t say that she or I was happy to be in the situation, but her spirit and her love toward me felt so good.
We don’t wish for experiences like this; however, I find that they are the ones that grow me and stretch me the most. I am most reliant on God when I am reminded that I’m not in charge of His universe. I am also most reliant on Ann when I know that I can’t do something on my own.
God is teaching us and preparing us for our marriage. I can tell this for sure. He knew we were going to have to endure the night on the rock and I am thankful for it. I bet that our marriage is going to be full of such proverbial moments. We will embrace and grow.
I feel more ready than ever. I honestly am relaxed. I mean I wouldn’t be chattering away on my blog if I wasn’t. I can’t wait to see Ann come down the aisle, to make my solemn vow, to consummate our love on our honeymoon. However, I am also in the moment, and want to savor every minute of the next two weeks of my life.
In fact, I will be savoring them so much you will just have to be patient, no more blogs until I’m back.