Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rapelling is not for me!

I was suddenly single. I wanted some adventure in my life. I wanted to prove to myself that even though I was divorced at 32, with 5 young children, I still had it in me to "have fun" with the adults.

On a sunny summer afternoon, my older brother and a brother-in-law planned a rapelling trip. I had no training what-so-ever, but I was bound and determined to take part in an adventure that was totally new to me. The guys were experienced and knew the ropes. They had all the right equipment and prepared for the descent off a small rock cliff, hugging the highway, up a nearby canyon. 

My family and several of my siblings families, along with my parents, packed a lunch and headed out for an adventurous day. 

I remember looking up at the cliff, which was probably around 75 feet high, and thinking... "do I really want to do this?" It wasn't that high in comparison to what most people would rapel from. The day was planned around us amateurs in the family.

 I am terrified of heights. And, I had no previous experience in this sport. I watched with anxiousness as other family members made their way down the face of the rock. Each one, a success! Nephews and nieces were part of that group. If they could do it, so could I!

When it was finally my turn, I didn't let on that I was terrified. My brother reassured me that I was in good hands. His oldest son was at the bottom controlling the rope for a safe descent. With my harness snug tight around me and my brother's encouraging words, I cautiously backed to the edge of the rock. I closed my eyes and started walking backwards. It scared me! I panicked. My first thought was to scramble back to the top, to safety. But, I had too much pride to do that! I did a little hop and forced myself from the ledge of the cliff to what I thought would be a frightening, yet safe trip, down the rock. And, I would once and for all, prove to myself that I actually could do this!

Instead of finding any kind of security or footing, I felt myself falling. And falling fast. My nephew did all he could to control the effects of my fall. I swung through the air, hard to the right, and crashed into the side of the rock. I fell to the ground in a heap of pain. I couldn't move. The ambulance was called and I was rushed to the E.R. I had cracked my pelvis, either from the impact of hitting the rock or falling to the ground. I was thankful it wasn't anymore than that. I was on crutches for awhile after that. 

Turns out, my adventure turned out to be quite the challenge. I took a week off school and stayed with my parents. My mother was not in any better condition to take care of me. She had just had foot surgery and was on crutches herself. But, I remember her taking care of me in spite of her own pain. I remember thinking how unfair it was that she had to take care of me.

Dad scolded me! A reaction out of fear. Strange as it may seem, but that is one way he showed love and concern. He chastised me and told me I needed to think before doing something as "careless" as this. I had no insurance at the time, and I had 5 children that depended on me. He was right!

My repelling adventure quickly turned into a lesson. Although I wanted to do grown-up things, I had other things to consider. Like...

1. Safety comes first!

2. Being a single parent requires certain considerations. Being a full-bodied healthy mother was most important. I was single, raising 5 children by myself, several hours from home and family. The next few weeks proved to be quite challenging for the kids and I.

3. Weigh the consequences. My family was depending on my success as a new college student. I was working toward a professional degree that would someday land me a good paying job to help sustain my growing family. I had just started another semester of school and put myself in a bad situation of completing it successfully. It was a miracle I got through it! It could have set me back, and I was very lucky it didn't.

4. Be responsible. Yes, I could still have fun. But there were other ways to do accomplish that. At least under my present circumstances.

5. Risky adventures need to be put into perspective. There would be another time for such adventures, and believe me... I've had plenty of opportunity since that day!

6. Rapelling is not for me!

Writing prompt # 5: Write about a time you tried something new.

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  1. Oh my gosh! I was waiting for the happy ending, not a crash landing! What went wrong exactly? Did your nephew down below just lose his grip or something? How scary! I definitely wouldn't be too hard on yourself. All of us know there is some fear involved, but with the right people and the right equipment I think it's normal to assume it will be pretty safe. I'm sure that didn't help your fear of heights.

    1. I'm not exactly sure what happened. I don't think my nephew knew exactly what happened either. Just couldn't keep hold of the rope. I think it surprised him, as well. I wondered if my hop at the top of the rock triggered a whip of the rope at the bottom and he just wasn't prepared for it. I'm just glad it wasn't any worse than what it was. And thankfully, I don't think of that incident when I am confronted with heights.

  2. Your lesson learned observations are really good.

  3. ummm . . . in your case repel means to resist involvement lets say, in the sport of rappelling. We all felt bad that day. We were all so grateful you healed up with no permanent or long lasting effects. I like you list of lessons learned. Where was Kerry? I know the three little boys were in the van eating rolaids :D Is that an actual picture of you?

    1. Kerry was there. I think he was at the top with Bill. What? Rolaids! That wouldn't be mine, your's, and Patty's boys, would it! And... I guess I better correct my spelling. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. And, no, that isn't me. I found the picture on pinterest.

    2. yes, that was the boys I was referring too, Kevin told me all about it when he got home. He said they were really good. I think dad had his knee scoped at the same time, both mom and dad were bed bound at that time. I still shudder when I think about you bouncing into that cliff. I wasn't there but it was bad enough just hearing about it. I had four kids the first time I tried rappelling, but it was at a ropes course where everything was very controlled. I only did it that once. I only pointed out the spelling because it made me laugh because of the punniness of it. I have a thing for puns.

    3. Yeah, I was thinking. That day I went rapelling, I really should have repelled the idea all together!

  4. I had to laugh at #2 because I was just using similar words to explain to someone why I don't generally like to drive on huge highways. Since my daughter was born, I tend to think differently about things that seem "risky" in any way. I think parenthood has eclipsed any major adventurous streak in me!

    1. Having a child surely does change the way you look at life and what choices you make. Some risky behaviors just have to be put in their right place for a time.

  5. Wow, what a blessing you weren't hurt worse!

    I'm like you, I have a fear of heights. I applaud your bravery, though.

    I agree with your conclusions. Timing is everything; and when our kids are little, we have to put off some of our dreams. One thing for sure, life changes quickly and a new season is just around the corner.

  6. I was there too. I went down before you. You were scared to go off the bigger rock. So they put you on a shorter one, next to the big one. But the rope was still attached to the big one, so when you went down and slipped the rope swung back to its original position, on the big rock, and you slammed into the wall. I think I drove you to the hospital in the van. I remember being in the ER too, in fact I was more interested in the ER and what they do, than I was worried about how bad you were hurt.