A friend was coming to spend the day with me and couple of days earlier he had mentioned a desire to check out a rock climbing gym before coming to my house. Two little words jumped out at me:
rock and climbing
I impulsively asked if I could tag along. Rock climbing was one of those things that I had always wanted to try. Matter of fact, it was number 23 on my life list so when he said those two little words, I jumped at the chance, and as the few days between invitation and execution passed, something slowly dawned on me.
I was going to go ROCK CLIMBING!
I began to frantically look for a way out, my mind grasping for any excuse that would allow me to back out while retaining some level of dignity. To be fair, I did mention that I had never climbed before and I believe the phrase “equal parts excited and terrified” may have been used but that did not stop me from seriously questioning my sanity, wondering how did I manage to get myself into this situation.
Saturday arrived along with a belly brimming with butterflies. As I got closer and closer to checking this item off my list my heart pounded in my chest. (Whose stupid idea was it to have a life list anyway?) I was completely unable to come up with a plausible reason why I no longer wanted to do what it was that I so enthusiastically said that I always wanted to do just a few days before.
Theory meets practice.
In theory, I am an adventurous person but in practice, I was more scared than I knew was possible. In theory, I do not live my life being terribly concerned with how other sees me. In practice, it deeply mattered what my companion thought of me and that was a huge part of why I found myself standing in front of an incredibly tall rock wall.
I am more than a little proud to say that, with some serious encouragement and gentle insistence, I didn’t back out and I did check number 23 off the list. I learned so much about myself as I tentatively climbed up literal and figurative walls but strangely the most memorable moments for me weren’t the big “I conquered my fear” ones but instead these lovely tiny ones that revolve around the way it felt to look into the warm, gentle eyes of another and see this churning mixture of fear, anxiety, excitement and bravery reflected back at me with nothing but kindness and compassion.
In theory, I am the rock. For the people in my life, for those souls that I love, I am there for them without hesitation. In practice, it is incredibly difficult to let down my guard and completely trust those very same people. Not wanting to be a bother or a burden, I keep my fear to myself.
In theory, I have lived by the story that it is key to have a plan, to have a thought out path to get from here to there and even if it is only by sheer determination, it is imperative to stick to that plan and depend solely on myself to get to the top. In practice, it is much more interesting to stay loose without expectation, to not plan (so much) and anticipate the moment but let to it unfold, and to allow others to encourage me and hold my hand along of the way. Even if I don’t reach the top, the effort is that much sweeter by having been shared.