Sunday, February 27, 2011

hope; or, the space between

When I was a senior in high school, our senior trip was to a confidence building camp in Etna CA.  We did a ropes course (complete with a zip line that began 100 feet above the ground).  I was not really afraid to do the course, but as I began moving through it, I did find that I was physically unprepared. The ropes cut into my flesh leaving huge bruises on my arms and inner thighs. My soft hands were ripped by the ropes, and my recently rehabbed knee became a liability. The course was designed to challenge you emotionally, not physically. But, for me, it became not a matter of conquering fear for me, but of making my body do what I needed it too. 

There was one part of the course that I remember very clearly. I had to jump from one platform to another. The platforms were about a foot and 1/2 apart. It wasn't supposed to be a physically challenging exercise, but for me it was. You see I have an injured knee. So, even though I was 100-feet up (in a harness of course) I wasn't afraid of falling. I was afraid that my knee would crumple when I landed on the other side. The coach was telling me to visualize myself landing on the other side, to take a breath, and to jump to the other side. She said, "By the time you release that breath, you will have made it. Inhale hope, leap with faith, land with confidence."

It took me about twelve minutes to be able to jump. In the end, I was fine. But, I couldn't explain to those watching and coaching that this was different for me. I was already in some pain and I had been hurt quite badly before. When I saw myself leaping, I didn't see a graceful landing. I saw my legs giving way. I felt the crunch that only those who have been injured truly know. I remembered what it was like to fall, to lie on the ground clutching myself in agony.

In some ways, what I learned from that ropes course is that life is a much different experience for those who have truly been hurt--as opposed to those who only imagine or fear the pain that might happen. I also learned that with some coaxing I will take a deep breath and jump anyway. I sure hope this time I land okay, because I have had enough crashing and I could really use a soft landing.

1 comment:

  1. I love the analogy, but I'm not sure that anyone, save the very young, has never been hurt. Maybe it's a matter of degrees, though, or perhaps how much someone internalizes that hurt. That all said, I hope for a soft landing for you, too.

    Edited in: The verification word was "mortive," which makes me think "morbid motive," something I hope to not encounter...