“Just let go.”
Those were the words echoing in my head as I clung to a 60 foot high climbing wall. As the rock climbing instructor explained the process of coming down to my roommate and I, I laughed to myself as he said these not so reassuring words.
“You just have to let go.”
Was he serious? Was this some kind of joke where there are hidden cameras are waiting to pop out? There was no way I was going to let go of this wall. After a few moments of thinking, negotiating with myself and trying to figure out other possibilities (maybe someone could come up here and bring me down?), I decided my instructor was right. If I was ever to touch the ground again, I was going to have to let go of the wall that I had worked so hard to climb.
This was my roommate’s and my first time rock climbing. We had both always wanted to do it and decided what time better than the present. Climbing my first wall was a feat. Upon arrival and noticing the fit physiques of the other rock climbers, I realized that It was going to take a lot more upper body strength than I realized. Also, did I mention that it was 60 feet off the ground?
With my fears and minimal upper body strength, I attempted my first rock climb. Give or take 10 or 15 minutes later and I did it! My hands were sweaty and red from clinging to the rocks. My upper torso was sore from lifting my body weight the 60 feet, but I had pushed myself to get to the top of this wall. I am no quitter. If I was going to rock climb, I was going to rock climb to the best of my ability. Pains and all, I did it.
Last but not least was the letting go. It sounds so easy right? As I clung to the wall, I realized that letting go was for some reason scarier than climbing. I had to do it. So I took a breath, closed my eyes, took another breath and released my grip from the hard rock surface. Probably 5 seconds later, I was safely on the ground.
I will say that my first “letting go” moment didn’t go very well. I tried to stay too close to the wall and ended up scratching my leg. Once I conquered the fear of the letting go, there was no stopping me. I wanted to climb all the rock walls the facility had to offer. Two hours later, when my roommate and I were leaving, all I could say was, “We did it!! That was so awesome!” Mentally, I was already making plans for the next time we could go back.
Isn’t that a lot like life? We climb the mountain and give it everything we’ve got. We work hard day in and day out at the job or in the relationship. We give it every ounce of blood, sweat and tears until we have nothing left. We work, work, work and then once we get to the top there is nothing left to do but as my instructor so eloquently said, “Just let go.”
Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody)
“God can dream a bigger dream for you than you could ever dream for yourself. When you have done all that you can do and there’s nothing left to do, surrender.” Oprah Winfrey
The free fall can be daunting. The unknowns are more frightening than what we do know. The known is safe and easy. We can wrap our minds around it. The unknown is where you are required to have real courage and faith. The unknown knocks at your door after you have climbed that mountain and sweetly whispers for you to let go.
I am learning that we cannot always have control over absolutely everything in our lives.We each have our own mountains to climb in life. I challenge you that once you have worked hard to face whatever mountain is in your life, to just let go. Once you have done everything you can to make something out of nothing, just surrender. Trust that what is yours will be yours. Is it scary? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. Do it anyway. And take it from me, don’t cling too tightly to whatever it is you are holding (in my case the wall), else you might get a few scratches on your descent into the great unknown.