Blogmas 2021 | 12 Days of Christmas | Day 6
Strength and weakness ought not to be measured only by physical prowess.
Recently, I went camping/cabin-ing up in the Blue and John Crow Mountain National Park in Jamaica. With me were a number of familiar faces and others not so familiar.
Most of us built that typical camping/cabin-ing relationship with little to no phone use, some intensely deep conversations and a general family vibe. All this even though none of us are kin-folk by blood.
In true ‘me’ fashion, I got sick from some food that I was probably allergic to. My “stush” bowels just couldn’t handle it. Haha! Anyway, these people who were my family and place of refuge for that cabin-ing/camping period took care of me!
When I tell you – this Suburban Girl got all the teas, the hugs, and the endless expressions of concern. I welcomed it all. In that moment, I depended on them and they were strong for me. All this regardless of truly knowing me like my actual ‘blood’ and kin-folk would.
I was not completely physically weak but it was getting there. In fact, my will to do anything died a bit and that weakened my spirit to be present in the moment with my cabin-ing family. Despite my motions, they kept the morale high all while maintaining the vibe.
A little while later, they said we should go for a hike. Naturally, ‘sick’ me declined. They insisted that the “walk out would be good for you [me], and you [I] came up in the mountains to do adventures – so why not cease the opportunity”. They reassured me that my back was covered. In that moment I felt like the needy little sister who was taken care of. I also felt better by this time, by the way.
The terrain was muddy and high-key slippery because it had rained a whole lot the day before. Still kinda shaky from the food that got me sick, I moved sluggishly and gingerly along the path. Had a few missteps but I never fell and I never felt like I was gonna fall over any precipice.
Despite all that, two of the guys stayed with me at the back in the queue as we walked/hiked the trail. At other points on the trail, other folks in the squad were strong for me as well. They held my hands, literally and figuratively. At slippery sections of the trail, they extended themselves to protect me and my weak self. They encouraged me and pushed me (not physically) to keep going and continue along. The trail was a mixture of peaks, valleys, flat surfaces, and cliff faces. Heavy on the valley bit. That meant a whole lot of downward slopes. I hate those.
We did it and while doing it, we witnessed nature in all her glory. We saw untouched springs, waterfalls, flora and fauna. It was simply beautiful and breath-taking. I got out of my head a number of times to truly witness the marvels of the space and I had no regrets.
In my moments of weakness, they stayed with me and showed me that no wo(man) is an island and no wo(man) stands alone.
The tables turned and the shoe that once fit me went to the feet of these amazing people.
We wrapped our walk along the trail and turned back. It so happened that the last was first and the first was last in the queue.
I still felt ill but not as much as when we started. Now, the valleys and slopes turned into “peaks” to climb. Turns out I’m way better at climbing than descending. I guess I could also look at that as a metaphor for how I live my life. The downward trod is often painful for me. But! I can push myself up a hill or mountain.
Anywho, based in the strength that I had, I was able to show support to the same folks who assisted me earlier along the trail. I’m small in body and was still weak so I couldnt even help anyone physically – but, my mental strength was there. The guys who helped me were winded and struggled a bit on the return trip.
Knowing that going up/climbing was a breeze for me, I waited for and encouraged my camping/cabin-ing family to take the right breaths, put one foot in front of the other, and take breaks if they needed. I was a cheerleader in that moment.
Being able to do that and reflect on a few minutes or hours prior, highlighted to me that we all have our fallen moments-weak moments- can’t do much for ourselves moments. However, in those moments, there will be at least one person who can help to carry you along in the best way they can. Importantly, the roles will reverse at some point. That’s just the way life works. When that happens and the opportunity to pay it forward shows up, pay it forward.
That’s all folks. Take from it what you will.
*These thoughts and experiences are my own and they’re not necessarily supported by any real empirical evidence. Great, glad to have gotten that out the way.
Signed with love,
The Suburban Girl JA