|A couple of clowns. (Electrical Parade - 2001)|
We disagree on who should win So You Think You Can Dance, we love different TV shows, we even see spirituality differently, but our differences don't even compare to our thirst for adventure, our desire to inspire others, our love for those around us and the constant desire to be better people.
Matt and I try to go hiking every week.
This week, Matt and I arrived at the trailhead and I looked at him with a look of disappointment. He looked at me curiously and I looked down at my feet and wiggled my toes. I was wearing flip flops and had forgotten my tennis shoes in my car back at his house.
"Do you wanna go back and get your shoes?"
"That's crazy, let's just hike... as long as it's ok that we don't run and I'll have to go slow sometimes."
Flip flops it was.
We were hiking at Runyon Canyon which is just gorgeous around sunset. The Hollywood sign glows in the golden sun. The lights of downtown LA start to sparkle. It's almost enough to forget how hard this hike is in flip flops.
We had made it down one side of the mountain and were heading back up the other side. Even though my feet had slipped out from under me a few times I had never fallen. We got to the point where we had decide if we were gonna go up the mountain on the hard trail or the easy trail.
"Let's go up the hard way as long as I can hold on to you if I need to."
We take a left. I've never been good at taking the easy path.
It was about 15 minutes later, I found myself in trouble. The hard path was maybe a little too hard in flip flops. The slippery loose dirt would move around under my feet and there was no traction in these dumb sandals. So finally I say, "Matt, can you hike just in front of me?"
He slowed down and got right in front of me. I put my hands on his shoulders and depended on him just being there to keep me from falling.
At the end of that hard section I realized that I had asked for help with no shame. If you know me, I'm a pretty independent person. I like to do things on my own. For a while I worked at Disney in a costume that took two people to put it on, but not me. I figured out a way to do it on my own. Classic Liz.
Then I realized that it was because we had a mutual understanding that this hike was harder because I was wearing flip flops and that needing help was a pre-arranged agreement.
I suddenly realized how true this is for life. When we have something that holds us back that is socially acceptable - we need help moving, we can't change a tire, we are jealous - we will ask for help. But when we find ourself in a place of needing help and it's not socially acceptable, we hide our struggles and do it all on our own. We try to battle that eating disorder on our own. We keep spending on our credit cards when we are in tremendous debt. We let hate grow in our hearts because we don't want to confront the problem head on.
How much easier would life be if we could just ask for help with no shame, realizing that our friends would be happy to stand in front of us and let us depend on their strength to make it through. Being vulnerable is so hard and so necessary.
And sometimes we will be Matt. Allowing people to be vulnerable with us and all we need to do is be there to let our friends have the confidence to tackle whatever is in front of them.
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