Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Ropes Taught Me Patience

As of yesterday, I have been here at camp in Alabama for one month. When this current week comes to a close, I will be half way through the summer, halfway through my job working here at a camp for girls. How did it go by so fast?

A long time ago, it seems, when I was in counseling with a Christian counselor at my college, the question was posed: "Do you love yourself?" Now, I grew up being taught that JOY comes from loving Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. So I kind of shrugged off the question and moved on, going on about the fact that I like who I am becoming or something equally strange and cheesy. Whatever.

Yet my counselor kept going back to the question. Later, or in different sessions, or the next semester, he would ask. Again. "Do you love yourself?" 

So I asked what that meant. Aren't I always supposed to put myself last? I asked God to show me why I needed to love myself and how I could do so. You can see some of the posts I've written about the realization <a href="http://losingmyselfblog.blogspot.com/search/label/love%20yourself">here</a>, but to summarize, I learned that 1 Corinthians 13 applies to me too. The adjectives in that chapter should define the way that I treat others and the way that I treat myself.

Fast forward to camp. My very first week in Alabama was staff orientation, and I began training on the ropes course. My goodness, that was tough! It was several hours each day (usually 9am-4pm) of not only training on each element, but also going on each element multiple times so everyone had a chance to train well. I was exhausted. One afternoon, while I was training high in the zip line tree with my friend Ali, I was taking a little longer than some of the other trainees. Ali remarked between participants that I was being really patient with myself. 

I don't think I realized it at the time, but it came to me slowly later. And I almost broke down. I was being patient with myself. Patient. You know what love is? "Love is patient, love is kind..." I was astounded. Here I am, learning how to love myself 50 feet up in the air. 

A couple weeks later, when I was asked to train in the rappelling wall window for the advanced class, I mentioned to my friend Kat, who has been doing ropes for a number of years, that ropes course is teaching me to be patient with myself. And as I continued to train, it was proven true. You must remember each specific aspect of the element; which way to clip into a harness and when to flip the carabiner; which way to turn and hold the belay device; when to use a screw gate, a rapid link, or an auto lock; how to get the best helmet adjustment, etc, etc. Yes, a lot of it becomes muscle memory after a while, but like I said in introductions for this new group of campers, I've been doing ropes for an entire four weeks. I have noticed improvements, such as the amount of time it takes me to five point check a camper and clip in my belay device or my ability to get a helmet fitting just right, but I am still learning. I am so grateful for the people I work with who challenge and encourage me and make me keep trying. 

I am thankful that this often difficult experience occurred at this time in my life. I am grateful for all the times I have learned to overcome and press on and achieve things I thought I could never do. And I'm grateful that I have learned one way to love myself: and that that is to be patient.

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!! i just knew that you have blog! so nice :)