Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Belaying

The woman climbing the cliff
is a pretty good metaphor for me
in the middle of a sewing project.

I need a belayer!

I need someone at the bottom of the cliff hanging onto my rope,
ready to cinch it tight if I lose my grip. 
I need the security of the tension on the rope
that will catch me before I hit the ground.

I know it doesn’t feel like much,
just standing there,
helplessly watching me struggle
for the next finger-grip or toehold…
but if there’s no belayer,
I don’t dare attempt the climb.

I know what it’s like to fall.

My prince still looks baffled when I exclaim over how much I value the time he spent
just sitting beside me, present, watching while I wrestled with pinning ruffles together;
how much he helped get that skirt to completion
without ever sewing a stitch.

He was belaying me, hanging onto my rope.

The skirt wouldn’t be finished now if he hadn’t.
We’re both glad it is :)!

I don’t think I’m the only one
who needs to not be alone
in the midst of a project that taxes my resources
to their limit.
Maybe it’s a woman thing.
I don’t know.
And when I say “not alone”
I mean that in a very personal sense–
I need someone who’s present to me, aware of me, actively engaged,
even if there’s nothing they can physically do to help
(it reminds me a little of the real definition of active participation in the Mass–
not so much joining the choir or getting up to read,
but rather making the prayer of the Mass your own).
It makes all the difference in the world.

Ladies, does this sound familiar?

Gentlemen, have you tried just being there for your bride when she’s up a cliff,
even if you can’t fix the problem?

Yes, I do have personal experience with rock-climbing.
My high school offered an outdoor recreation class,
complete with climbing wall at the school
and a rock-climbing weekend out of town.
I well know the feeling of falling and hanging from my belayer’s rope!

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4 Responses to Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Belaying

  1. angie says:

    YES! I totally agree with you!

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