"The Narrow Road"
Longboarding is made possible by the existence of roads; no roads, no longboarding (ie. no waves, no surfing). Our skill increases as our selection of riding locations becomes more varied, or greater in difficulty - which requires, at times, an almost idiotic courage. The steeper the road, the faster the speed; the more speed, the less control the rider has. The windier the road, the less predictability, or foresight, the rider has. And finally, the narrower the road, the less possibilities for safety, or for that matter anything, should anything unexpected occur. Steeper roads are manageable by using the width of the road to "carve out" your speed. Windier roads are also manageable by sticking to the proper apex and by turning hard around the corners to bleed off speed. Narrow roads, however, leave no such option. There is no slowing down, there is no manageability, and there is absolutely no control. The rider is at the complete mercy of the Narrow Road.
One would ask, "Why bother? Why take steeper, windier, narrower roads?" But as any experienced rider knows, with the accomplishment of one great challenge comes a deeper desire for something much more daring; the grandeur of the coming challenge torments his mind, day and night. It is unstoppable in the heart of the rider who has tasted of the challenge already - or who dreams about it, regardless of skill level. It fuels his passion; it becomes a cycle.
Not all, however, choose to "taste of" the initial challenge - dream of it they may, but something blocks them from pursuing the challenge, even by one increment of increase; one degree of difference in risk. They will never ride the narrow road - though they dream of it internally. The narrow road holds such incredible challenge and risk because it offers absolutely no control, in any way, to the rider. The rider must be ready to literally suppress his own fears, concerns and pride -throwing caution to the wind - and begin the descent with reckless abandon; knowing that he will meet either serious repercussions or even death, or something very different. At the bottom, he will meet himself - his new self; the one that has tasted of something that only those who have ridden that road can know of... life. To step out of existence and into truly living - this is his aim.... but it is the Narrow Road that decides this outcome.
On a real level, we all dream of the Narrow Road. It represents every dream in our life not realized; the undoing of every mistake and failure we've ever made -or the destruction of such obstacles that we've either earned, inherited or incidentally acquired. We want to live. And we would die to know what life truly is... or would we?
It seems that we live in an upside-down world. Everything holding real value is undermined and thought to be menial; everything that has no real value whatsoever is highly esteemed and honored. In this upside-down world, the Parking Lot is king. Narrow Roads are for dreamers, the idealistic - even the "weak". To simply exist, to go along with everything we've been taught (or even "known"), to suppress the small, yet desperate notion in our heart that says "there's more...", to live as dead men while we're alive - this is what our world esteems. This is the crowded Parking Lot, where everyone sorts out the details of life, while forgetting to live. But the Narrow Road is not far from the parking lot - in fact it is in full view of the Parking Lot. It's just a matter of meeting it...
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." -Jesus Christ, Matt. 7:13-14
The Narrow Road, unlike the above illustration's picture of danger, holds no real danger to our souls. It may endanger other areas of our lives, even physically, but our souls were made to travel the Narrow Road - it is our home; our belonging. It was what we were meant for - to know Life, and also to live it. However, going even deeper, it is not the road, or path that determines who we are - it is the One who makes the path; the Creator of the both "the rider" (us), and "The Narrow Road" - our true calling. To know Life and to live it; to know God and to follow Him, wherever He may lead.
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." -Jesus Christ, Jn. 10:10
Knowing and following God is wildest road one could ever take. There is a false misconception out there that equates God with "organized religion" - seen as boring, irrelevant, and judgmental. Without venturing too far into this, it must be stated that the Life that Jesus refers to in the above passage has nothing to do with memberships to organizations, titles or associations - these, if anything, are truly menial by themselves, and while they may be good things, belong in the "Parking Lot" unless they are only a result of true Life - given by God on a personal, individual level. In other words, "going to church" does not equate to truly living - to follow the unbelievable path of adventure, mystery, miracle and unpredictability that we will find on the Narrow Road - and this only in Jesus Christ.
"He has also set Eternity (True Life) in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end" - Ecclesiastes 3:11
The Narrow Road - or Life itself - calls out to us daily. We know of this voice that speaks into our lives, and if even for a second, arouses a desperate longing for that unspeakable path that leads to the discovery of who we are - what life really is. We know that there is so much more to live for, but so often we choose the Parking Lot out of fear of the Unknown, Narrow Road.
Follow God, listen to His voice and respond to it. You will begin a journey that will absolutely transform your life; you will be witness to such amazing things within your own spirit - and in the entirety of your life - that you will not be able to find words to describe them. To know God is to know Life. To Follow Him is to start the descent down the Narrow Road. You will never be sure of what is around the next corner; you will have no idea what you will discover, and on top of that, you will realize just how utterly out of control we truly are - in everything. But you will begin to see the inverse side of this; God is truly in control. As you descend with unbelievable speed and momentum down the road of seeming uncertainty - throwing all caution to the wind and denying all human "wisdom" and intuition - you will see increasingly just how certain it is, that God is truly in control of you, your life, and everything else as well.
The Narrow Road is long, hard, scary, seemingly uncertain, amazing, beyond all understanding, unspeakable and finally, life-giving. Take it. Listen to the longing within your heart and do what almost no-one else will ever do. Live.
-Written by Chris Rempel. Oct. 12/2004 Questions? Email me here.