Monday, August 15, 2011

pondering the gift of a fall

Today I took the kids to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC, where they asked to try the climbing wall. Of course my answer was, "Go for it!" The older three scrambled right up, but our youngest was panicking as soon as her feet left the ground. She spent the next 20 minutes fretful, frustrated, and exhausted...

Until something happened.

She fell.

A whole one foot down, but still, she fell!  As she did, she felt the rope "catch her" - felt the sensation of being lowered in a controlled, safe manner.

And that was all it took.

Panic no longer consumed her.  She was free.  Free to take her time, to concentrate on where to place her feet, to search for the next hand hold. Free to gain confidence. Free to enjoy the climb!  Within minutes she was halfway up the wall. I warned the guys running the place that she'd never been that high before and might panic, but she kept  going... all the way to the top! Complete strangers were applauding.

What changed?

She trusted the rope.  We'd been telling her she could trust it, but she had to experience it - had to feel it - had to know it in a way that truly mattered.  Once she did, there was no stopping her.  She was free to live out what had been true of her all along:  that she is an amazing climber!

Panic cripples.  Trust frees.  And sometimes ... a fall is a gift.

3 comments:

Linda said...

Awesome, awesome analogy!

Linda said...

Awesome, awesome analogy!!

tracy said...

don't know how i missed this one. but thank you.