Thursday, January 2, 2014
Swallowing my pride never tasted so good
I am covered in sand, embarrassment and determination.
I've just watched my 70-year-old husband scurry up a steep sand dune with an 7 year old at a beach on Ocracoke Island, the whole of which is a National Seashore.
I have failed to make the climb. I am on my knees in the sand, breathless, after going nowhere despite doing a series of Stairmaster lungs in the spilling sand. I have failed.
Yet I cannot fail. I refuse to settle for defeat.
So I stand up, wipe myself off, and observe the dune, looking for a less parallel wall of sand to climb. That's when I hear my friend Julie send one of her children -- I said CHILDREN -- to help me make the climb. Now these kids define litheness. One of me outweighs all three of them combined. Still, here is an 8 year old, Kenson, at my side, hand outstretched to help. How can I let him down? So I tell him to pave my way and I follow.
Suddenly Paul, Kenson's dad, is right next to me, also with hand outstretched. I make two of Paul. I could take him down in a slip. Yet his offer is so genuine, his effort so sincere. How can I let him down? So I take his hand (from time to time) and step where he steps to climb, laboriously to the top.
We make splendid (still embarrassing) progress. One of the children, I don't know who (and please don't tell me) pushes me upward from behind while Paul tugs me skyward from above.
We continue making progress toward the top.
Where I now stand. Winded. Ashamed (because of all the help AND because Julie photographed this whole shameful episode of my life) yet tremendously excited that I made it.
Paul and I do the Rocky fist punch in the air, and then slide back down.
I'm still covered in sand and embarrassment yet now have a modicum of pride, because I (well, we) did it.