I …. literally ….. dropped my boyfriend.
The word came up time … and … time … again.
He would use it.
Then it would spill from my thoughts …. right into conversation
moving …. liquid … invisible yet quivering.
Believing with all.my.being that
there are no accidents …. there is no “chance,”
I thought it no happenstance that we were each
grappling in some way with
Each time I have traveled to his home, I have taken a small gift or two. I plan ahead. I am intentional. I make him a card … or I pick up some sort of trinket along the way that I tuck into a drawer, leave on the dresser or place on a window sill. At Valentine’s, I left a post-it note pad with a heart printed on each.sticky.little.page. I tucked a wrapped gift of soft and yummy Life Is Good pj’s in a hiding spot after one trip. I called him on a special day to ask him to go look in that same spot so he might discover the surprise. Just before Easter, I left an amber cross on his kitchen window sill with a few Scrabble trays supporting the blocks to spell the message “EASTER BRINGS HOPE.”
We all need “hope,” don’t we?
I have left a sweet note on his pillow,
the words “You are wonderful” scratched on lined notebook paper,
and cards of all shapes and sorts … all handmade ….
dreamed, created and left behind with love.
Then there was the smooth, river rock
…. a beautiful velvety, round stone …..
like the one above
with the word “TRUST” painted on its slick, dark surface.
Back in November, I bought a few discounted tickets to a rock climbing gym. I was in no rush to use them because I knew that every month I waited to redeem the passes was another month that I grew stronger as I worked out at the gym, ran and biked. But, the expiration date drew near and when I was on a recent visit to Norcross, Stone and I went to Adrenaline Climbing in Suwanee to try to scurry our way to the top of those knobbed walls.
The gym was per.fect. The walls were challenging enough that we could learn how to maneuver
without the daunting feeling of being surrounded by climbers with spider blood running through their veins.
The gym was big enough to have experienced climbers to watch without being crowded.
Our trainer was a young, strapping fella who taught us more in ten minutes
than we had learned in our several visits to the Bass Pro Shop wall .
It was really good to get some strong, helpful instruction.
But, even with the quality instruction, I still had a gut feeling that I didn’t know enough.
I asked question upon question as is my wiring and inclination.
My questions were answered and my fears calmed.
No. I wouldn’t be lifted off the ground as I belayed Stone down from the wall’s height.
Yes, the belay equipment (grigri) would even out the difference between
Stone’s 210 muscular body mass and my 135 lighter frame.
No. I wouldn’t drop my boyfriend.
“Really,” I was assured by my instructor, “You’ll be fine. Trust me.”
There it was again.
This was yet another exercise in …. “trust.”
With a deep, cleansing breath, I said “Okay,” and we began.
Stone climbed high and, with guidance standing right at my side,
I helped him repel back down safely.
We made the reciprocal move with me climbing and Stone keeping me safe.
Piece of cake, it was. I had nothing to fear. With a pat on the back and a quick, “You got it,”
Matthew stepped away and Stone and I were on our own.
At first, the distance between the ground and my weak hands gripping the multi-colored nodes concerned me. But, I began to feel comfortable. This was challenging, but still fun. Stone did an excellent job of slowly lowering me down. Smooth and gentle. He was awesome … which was no surprise. He’s strong, agile and athletic. I knew I was safe with him at the other end of the rope.
It’s quite amazing how little true strength it takes to control the rope that winds through the Grigri system. You can easily hold someone suspended with a single hand …
but I tended to use a wide open stance of my legs
– my body size, weight and strength comparatively small to his –
and hold the rope with BOTH hands …. for good measure.
On my first “solo” experience as the belay on the ground, I was a wee bit too cautious with the release of the rope.
I don’t think Stone’s harness was seated properly and
I stopped the rope too quickly
and found myself
LIFTED up off the ground
and moved towards the wall by about five or six feet ….
When I was still again,
he was hanging in the air
pinched painfully between his legs the harness.
I was so embarrassed.
I was sad that I had not learned properly … that my fears had some true … that I had “hurt” my friend …
and that I was evidently a sloppy listener and could not follow instructions well.
Knowing that the experience is painful, I was determined NOT to let that happen again.
So, Stone went back up for another try on a nearby wall.
more of a monumental failure
than the previous smooth move
that may have left him unable to father children again.With the release latch tight in hand,
about half way down the wall
when I was given the word “go,”
I opened the latch too graciously
which allowed my 210 pound friend
to free-fall … at least 15 feet …. and hit the mat with a loud, knock-the-breath-out-of-you THUD.I could have died.
I know I turned red.
I was embarrassed … terribly so.
But, oh-s0-much-more-than-that ….
I was so very, very angry at myself.
This “exercise in trust”
proved that I didn’t have what it takes.
I had feared in my gut that I didn’t have what it took to be efficient
and I found out I was right.
My head spun with thoughts of all the spiritual/physical parallels.
It rocks with doubts of my abilities, trustworthiness and strengths.
Stone has never seen my cry ….
He has seen me tear up a few times,
but never has a tear streamed down my face in front of him.
But I warned him that afternoon
while I stood there furious and disappointed
that I might very well just melt.into.a.puddle
right there on that cushioned climbing gym floor.
We climbed a bit more. I didn’t drop Stone again. And he was never really mad at me.
I think he knew how upset I was with myself. He wasn’t injured physically.
If there was injury ….
I’m afraid it may have been more within me.
I trusted a man to instruct me in the caring of the life of a friend.
I listened to a young man who doesn’t know my caution,
my strength and abilities.
I listened to a young man who is comfortable and confident at belaying ….
though I knew almost nothing at all about it.
I listened to a trainer who is a
different age, gender, strength and ability
and I trusted him when my inclination was to stand trembling.
I should have listened to my gut.
I should have been more cautious ….
more careful ….
more …… something!
But, there it was …
I really was
I didn’t have what it takes.
My weakness and inability …
my lack of strength, knowledge and understanding ….
put someone else in danger.
My mind reels with the spiritual/physical parallels.
The enemy tells me that I cannot be trusted.
And …. well …..
this is truth: I don’t have what it takes.
I should trust my gut on this one.
I don’t have the strength, knowledge or understanding to keep someone else safe from harm.
I am often not weighty enough to counter-balance what I am up against.
I can be fitted with the right equipment, but may still miss the mark.
I can be instructed, but I won’t always “get it.”
The greater the distance from my trainer, the more likely I am to make a mistake.
There is a grip that is best … not too tight and not too loose.
Too much variance in either direction can put others – or myself – in harm’s way.
The One to trust here is not myself, but my God.
With the instruction of God’s word, I find myself properly equipped and directed.
With God’s Holy Spirit, I have a trainer at my side
to lead and guide me through every relationship I encounter.
With Christ’s reminder, I can experience grace and mercy
to forgive myself for my shortcomings.
I need not beat myself up for not being well-equipped.
If I were strong enough, smart enough, experienced enough,
and heavy enough ….
I would have no need of God.
But, truly, I need Him. I need Him to guide me
that I might not cause injury
to those whose lives I touch.
Oh, that I would be t.r.u.s.t.w.o.r.t.h.y
in this adventurous life …