You know I love words. How could I not? In this profession, the tactful turn of phrase is invigorating and refreshing. Simple prose can be inspiring, motivational, encouraging, and fun all at the same time. But admittedly, there are times when words fall short. Even a great description cannot capture the emotion of experience all of the time.


Riding the Colorado River rapids; a Cancun morning sunrise; peering across the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris; Washington Park during a sunset; or driving across Deception Pass Bridge near Fidalgo Island in the state of Washington—all of these cannot fully be experienced with words.


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Deception Pass Bridge

Have you ever been to Deception Pass Bridge? I expect not. It connects the Fidalgo and Whidbey islands. This is known as a ‘must see’ when visiting Anacortes and the Puget Sound.


There are so many pictures of this place from multiple perspectives that looking at them still elicits feelings of hope and joy in a location we called home for three years during my career. To someone who has never been there, I imagine the pictures are still inspiring, but pictures alone cannot capture the true brilliance of this little bit of heaven on earth. In the grand scheme of things, the Deception Pass Bridge is a memory for a handful of people. My guess is that you have probably never heard of it; I hadn’t until a friend mentioned it. But to those who daily drive Route 20 connecting Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island, it is a lifeline.


About 20,000 cars now cross the bridge 180 feet above swirling water every day. My son and I fished for salmon on the banks below this massive structure. A friend of mine, a marine biologist, would conduct his research far below the water’s surface here, but it was critical that he understand the risks and the potential cost. He would have to time his dive just right or the millions of gallons of water from the tide would pull him out into the ocean. The Skagit Basin is the largest drainage in Puget Sound, supplying over 30 percent of the freshwater and an estimated 10 billion gallons of water a day.


There are many more particulars available. An interested party could conduct a Google search that would produce more information and facts about this phenomenal place and the incredible sights and sounds in detail. All are readily available.


Admittedly, this all could be intimidating to the casual observer. The first time I drove across the bridge, I was amazed and stunned at the beauty and facility of the adventure. It was not necessary for me to understand how or when it was created or the myriad of complicated algorithms needed to make it a reality. I simply pressed the accelerator, and we effortlessly moved from one end of the bridge to the other. Others certainly understood the physics better than I, but I benefitted.


In a similar way, though I have been a member of the Church my entire life, I do not have to understand all the details of scripture or grasp the principles of the gospel perfectly. I don’t need to. I know enough to easily realize that the gospel of Jesus Christ provides value and hope in the midst of the trials of life, and it offers strength and healing when needed. I don’t just believe this. I know it through experience.


And if the gospel of Jesus Christ can consistently deliver all these things and much more now in this time, it most assuredly will continue to do so in the life to come. I believe that with all my heart.


I have a favorite video (see below) that to me articulates the emotions I am trying to express in this article. The funny thing is that this video is about something that I am really bad at: walking the high line. I have children and friends that are much better at this sport than me, but maybe that’s why I love this video so much, because for a few moments I can experience the ecstasy they must feel when harnessing the balance, strength, and discipline required to walk the high line.


To read more articles by Walter Penning, click here.

Though we have critics that peer in from the outside and may often feel the commandments are restrictive and controlling when compared to the seeming freedom they feel to live life the way they choose, the truth of the matter is that so do we. We consciously make our decisions. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also get to choose to live life their way, which for us happens to be the same way God created for his children to reach the full measure of their creation. And that keeps us safe and happy and fulfilled even though we don’t always know why or how.


“We can bring the light of the gospel into our homes, schools, and workplaces if we look for and share positive things about others,” shared Jean B. Bingham, counselor in the Primary General Presidency.


Sometimes, reading verbiage provides added insight to simply just listening to it. The qualities expressed in this video are also found in the gospel, since in reality the commandments are our lifeline.


Similarly, living the gospel provides a wealth of additional understanding and appreciation to simply hearing about its principles.


The universe and everything in it was created by God for our benefit. Of course, commandments have the ability to deliver joy, which is our very purpose.


And that is also the work and glory of our Father in Heaven.


When we see the gospel is at its best, it is really a beautiful thing—just like the high line.




The High Line

Everything is telling you not to walk.

It feels like an explosion going off in your mind, and you have got to just breathe.

You are kind of going against your primal instinct, you know. It takes everything you have.

Like you can’t just get out there and not be scared.

My relationship with the line is pretty straightforward.

The high line has a simple set of rules you need to follow, and those rules can be bent.

I think it is important for people to know their limits.

You know if you are not feeling comfortable with the situation, just walk away.

It’s not completely about walking the high line every time.

Sometimes you will have some frustrating moments.

It’s the whole journey.

People think it’s an adrenaline sport. It’s not. It’s all about the breathing and being in the moment.

You’re not thinking about three steps ahead of you. You’re not thinking about the mistakes you might have made three steps back. You’re taking one step at a time and you are in your zone.

You really can’t kid yourself when you are sitting up a couple hundred feet up off the ground.

You might as well take a look down. And try to take in the situation.

It’s not about eliminating the fear. It’s about finding the courage within to face the fear is what matters the most.

And then really it’s just your ability to stand up and put one foot in front of the other, kind of like how you should do everything else in life.


About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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