Columns, Opinion

RAMONES: Getting to the very top of that mountain

My arms and legs are burning and shaking. I can’t go any higher. I can’t take it anymore. I fight back tears of pain and frustration; I was letting the people I respect and admire down.
I’m not the best at rock climbing. Every time I’ve had the chance to rock climb, I let myself give up when it got too painful. I used to justify it by claiming that I had gone far enough so that everyone would leave me alone.
I was angry at myself and knew that I should probably try again, but I was too scared.
With this in mind, I ask myself, ‘Where else does this show up in my life? Where else do I let myself quit when it becomes painful or when I get afraid of embarrassing myself?’
I’m just about to escape with the rest of my group when the manager of the rock climbing gym approaches me and tells me that I’m not allowed to leave until I climb again. Before I could really think about it, I am harnessed in and facing the wall.
I try a new strategy that gets me up a bit faster and a little less painfully, yet I still find myself stuck about halfway up. I don’t know where to go, and I am tired of holding on. I can feel a tug on the rope as Claire, someone I’ve known for a few years, yells up from what feels like miles away. ‘Go for it,’ she yells. ‘I got you!’
As I try to push up I slip off the wall, but I don’t fall far. Claire really did have me.
I am angry, though. The vicious cycle is happening again. I cling to the wall in pain and exhaustion about to give up again, until I turn to my right and see Jeff, another one of my close friends.
‘Get up to that yellow rock, and I’ll leave you alone. You can do this; it’s your choice.’
After a few grueling moments, I finally make it to the yellow rock. After a few more painful minutes and coaching from Jeff and the people who seemed so far below, I was finally making that final push to reach the top.
This was only the second time out of dozens of rock climbing experiences that I made it to top. In the past I had thought that I had to climb alone, that I was the only one on the rock wall who could get me to the top.
I had felt that everyone else was too far away to be able to support me. I was only half right. I am the only one who can physically climb to the top of the rock, but I’m not alone. The people who feel so far away are the ones holding the rope ready to catch you if you fall.

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One Comment

  1. Great metaphors!