A little over two weeks ago I climbed a mountain.
This has been on my bucket list for years. I wanted to hike a 14’er. So on a Monday night when my friend Jess mentioned they were going that Saturday, I casually invited myself along. And then I started freaking out. I knew Jess and I would keep relatively the same pace so I’d have a hiking buddy who I wouldn’t have to worry about slowing down.
We hiked the mountain and both Jess and her boyfriend Matt were incredibly patient with my snail pace. Like I’m pretty sure I set a world record for the longest hike ever. It was tough. I was battling physical roadblocks and mental roadblocks. This was a real mountain but it represented a seemingly unscalable mountain of old wounds.
We are for you.
You are safe.
Jess kept looking me in the eye and repeating these phrases. I got probably 20 minutes from the top – after sending Matt and Jess on their way – when I realized I needed to turn down and start my descent. Matt let me know about some weather that was moving and I had made a promise to myself to not make any stupid decisions just because of my pride. Sadly and slowly I turned myself around and started the climb down. Climbing up a mountain is hard. But climbing down a mountain is brutal. Especially above the tree line.
You’re navigating rocky terrain at a steep angle while trying to stay out of the way of people hiking up. I cautiously stepped around rocks and stones and cracks trying to get down safely. And then the pain started. My knee had felt like it was giving out but I decided to just be more careful as I stepped from rock to rock.
But the more we came down the worse my pain got. I had to stop a few times trying to downplay the amount of pain I was in. Eventually we linked back up with the trail and started down the path. I assumed this would ease my pain as we were no longer navigating treacherous rocks. How wrong I was. As soon as we hit packed dirt and the trail lengthened to gentle slopes the pain became increasingly unbearable. Every time I would bend my knee and put weight on it, it felt like the muscles and bones were ripping apart.
It took me about 2 hours to go about a mile down the trail. What should have been the most enjoyable part of the hike ended up being a hellacious nightmare. I finally got to the bottom of the trail and nearly burst into tears at my relief seeing the car. I hobbled in, laid down, and tried to not fall apart.
Because once again, I was the girl that got hurt. I couldn’t even hike an “easy 14’er” without getting injured and slowing everyone down, and being a burden. I beat myself up for hours afterwards. Convinced I never should have gone. Laying in bed that night I was in so much pain I could hardly straighten my leg. Tears streamed down my face as I attempted some sort of position to be comfortable. The pain and the lies mixed together in a deadly cocktail that tore my heart apart.
To sum up the next two weeks, I ended up getting an X-ray, MRI, and exam by an orthopedic surgeon. I tore cartilage in my knee and damaged the soft tissue around it. I’ve been in a brace and recently on crutches trying to give myself a chance to heal. The doctor still isn’t convinced he knows the extent of the injury so I’m in a holding pen of sorts as far as my treatment goes.
And it’s been wretched on my pride. I’m helpless and weak and vulnerable. I’m needy and asking for favors and all the things I hate to do. I’ve refused help from friends. I’ve laid in bed begging the Lord for some sort of relief from the pain. I’ve avoided life because I feel like such a disaster. Pain can make you do funny things. I let it turn me inside myself. Getting lost in my own head can be the worst for me. I’m not too kind to myself in there.
Thankfully I’ve had the gentle and firm love of community around me who refuse to let me disappear in my cloud of pain. And I’ve protested every minute of it. My pride getting the better of me. And you know why?
Because I won’t let anyone love me.
I don’t want my weakness to be shown. I’m terrified that I’m too much. So I push people away. Partly because I’m afraid, but more so because I desperately need to know if they’ll come back. If they’ll actually care enough to see past my bullsh*t and not let me run away.
And I hate myself for it. I know my community loves me. I know they’ll fight for me. I know they are for me. I know all these things in my head. Yet I don’t live like I do. My insecurities get the best of me and rule my behavior.
So I guess now I learn not to run. I learn to stay put. I learn to pull my extended arm in, allowing love to get close. I learn that there’s no need to rate those around me with a pass or fail. I learn that I can be loved just because I’m loved.
so darling don’t you fear
I know you’re not a hopeless case
you were meant for more
this is a temporary state
don’t believe you’ve gone too far
i love you just the same
so please don’t run away