The Climb
(c) Gary Crawford

The Universe always knows how to throw one’s life into chaos. The result is a tumultuous fall into a deep, dark prison.  The landing is jarring, and one is left broken, not knowing what to do next. Does the fallen stay in the prison staring up at a pinprick of light that is the way out, dreaming of freedom? Or does the fallen take action to climb hand-over-hand up a vertical, crumbling wall that threatens to fall apart, but never quite does, and they eventually make an escape?

We are all held prisoner at one time or another in our lives. After the fall, we are presented with two routes where only one can be selected to follow during our imprisonment. The first route will be rough and takes a lot of work, patience, and energy to traverse. You will slip along the way, skinning your knees or banging your head. Yet, with perseverance, you’ll be able to escape to a place where things are better, and you reach a higher point in your life. The second route will be simple. You’ll climb easily along through a haze in an endless direction that leads nowhere and is without  escape. There will be no growth for you, and you’ll stay in the darkness forever.

The second route must never be chosen. No matter how hard the first route is to ascend, choose it. Show the Universe that you made it out of that prison alive and overcame whatever chaos the Universe hurled your way.

This has been a year that where I reached a new summit of growth after years of stumbling along a precarious path to escape my darkest prison. A little over four years ago, I fell from a high place where things seemed to be going incredibly right with my life and I was becoming known in the writing community as an author. When the fall happened, I landed in a deep pit of darkness. I laid at the bottom, shattered for a long time, trying to figure out what to do. I had felt like I lost everything – including my writing. For almost a year I wallowed in just staying steady – not falling any deeper into the darkness, but not getting any further out. There was a moment where I did find a tiny spark of light while I was in my prison, but a few months after finding it, the light went out and I was back to where I had initially fallen. It took many, many tries to climb. Each attempt got me closer to escape, but then there was always inevitably a fall. Yet, with each fall, I didn’t fall back as far down. I was making progress towards my escape, surely but slowly. It was not until the beginning of this year that I grasped the edge of the pit and pulled myself out into the light, into freedom. Now I’m at a point where I am sitting on the edge, my feet are dangling in the pit, but I am looking towards the sky.

This year has brought me insight to a newfound strength that I never knew I had. Three major events happened for me in 2019 and I sit in awe of these accomplishments: I survived the stress of building a brand new home and life with another person, I’ve become a triathlete with a goal of completing an IronMan in the next few years, and the major accomplishment, I have finally finished my first novel, My Brother’s Keeper. This is the novel I started in 2014 right before my fall, the one I spoke about on Martin Lastrape’s podcast. Now the novel is in the wonderful process of editing, which excites me as this process will only make the story stronger.

I can now see that the future is bright and there are so many more accomplishments that are stretching far front of me and there are higher summits to ascend. The road forward will be in no way perfect or easy, but my steps are off with the right start and I now know how to better maneuver when the Universe hurls its chaos. I’ll take the blows, get knocked down and stumble, but this time I’ll keep my eyes firmly locked on the bright sky.

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