I was hiking recently with my daughter and her family in Mesa Verde. We were on the Spruce Tree Trail in the San Juan mountains – a ridge of the Rocky Mountains – in southwest Colorado. Beautiful country. The trail is 2.5 miles long. The first half mile or so of the trail was a walk down into the canyon. The next part of the trail – approximately 1.5 miles – was up a steep and rocky incline before leveling off.
I was doing great when we reached the incline. But it wasn’t long before I was struggling to catch my breath, feeling exhausted, light-headed, and nauseated as I was making my way up. I had altitude sickness. I wasn’t certain I could make it. And there was really only one way out. Up. I was scared. It was scarier…I’m sure…for my daughter and granddaughter.
I finally asked for help.
My daughter and granddaughter helped me work my way to the top – foot by foot. I’d set a rock in the distance as my goal and worked my way to that point. They provided encouragement and a hand (literally) every step of the way. It was probably one of the most humbling times in my life.
I realize I’ve spent a good part of my life standing on my own. I’m not inclined to ask for help. I’ll figure it out as I go. I raised my daughters to do the same. They’re strong. Independent. Smart. Creative.
However, I hope my acceptance of assistance has taught me how to talk with them about “asking for help”. My daughter and granddaughter honored me with their love and concern. It made me realize that by asking for help, we communicate trust. Being vulnerable means we’re human…open to what others can bring. We’re not meant to make life journeys on our own. We’re meant to make them together.
Pride does not serve us well.