"No matter how stuck you feel, there is always a way to get to the top."
-my friend Julia
Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to go rock climbing with a girl who is quickly becoming a dear friend. She is in the LDC choir that I sing with, and she was also a senior in high school when I was a junior (I think).
When Julia asked me to go, I was so excited that she wanted me to hang out (haha!) with her that I didn't even realize I'd said yes to go rock climbing. It was only after I said I'd go that I remembered: I am deathly afraid of heights.
Julia has been climbing longer than I have. She usually goes about twice a week and has for nearly six months. Me? Yesterday was the first time I've gone in ten years. My dad took me because I really wanted to go, and he dropped me about six feet because there was too much slack in the rope. In short, I haven't been too fond of the sport in a long time.
Learning how to tie knots, put on harnesses, and belay was the easy part (kind of...it took me awhile to figure out). Climbing the first wall wasn't too hard either. It was the coming down that was the hardest part. That first climb scared me to death, and Aaron, the guy who was belaying me, had to coax me back down. His patience (and the fact that my arms were killing me) made it a lot easier. After that, I was super excited because I hadn't died! And it was actually really fun.
Now to the point of this post: there were a couple of times when I was climbing a particularly rough wall and had to stop to rest, or even come down. My fingers wouldn't grip the holds very well, and I was so tired. Once or twice I got stuck, and instead of staying up I just asked the person belaying me to let me down. The time that stuck with me, though, was when Julia was belaying me. I couldn't go up any higher, and she let me down. She asked me if I would belay for her, and started up the wall.
As Julia was climbing, she would stop and track out a path up the wall. Sometimes she would climb down a few feet, get her bearings, and then shoot ten feet up the wall in a few easy steps. She made it look so simple! I kept watching and waiting for her to get stuck or get too tired to keep going. Three times I thought she would stop and come back down, but she never did. It wasn't until she reached the very top of the wall and touched the bar holding the rope that she said she was ready to drop back down.
While she was slipping the ropes off of her harness, she smiled at me and said something that stuck with me all day and all night. "No matter how stuck you feel, there is always a way to get to the top."
I've thought about this a lot, how she took her time and made sure to take the right steps. Even if she had to double back a few feet and start again, she never stopped climbing until she made it to the top. To me, that's kind of how life is. No matter how hard it gets, or how stuck you may feel, there is always some way to get to the top of whatever problem you are facing. I'm really glad that Julia taught me that. It's something I always want to remember.