“You’re going to love your birthday gift, I think it’s the best gift I’ve ever gotten anyone. You’ll find out this weekend because you have to sign a waiver.”
I thought for sure this girl was trying to kill me, but was excited to find out that I was going to a ropes course for my 26th birthday. The pure excitement of going and doing something adventurous and extreme with a girl – with my girl – was enough to blind me to the imminent fear of being 30-60 feet up in the air.
We get to the course, go through the safety training, and as we are walking up to the course we realize the shear height. Despite that, I stayed pretty positive because nobody seemed phased by it, they were all the adventurous type and Kyla seemed pretty chill too. After we get all our gear on and start walking to the point where you climb up to the first platform, she turns to me with eyes huge, watery with fear, and beautiful as could be, and she says, “I’m really scared of heights”. All I could do was laugh and say, “Are ya [freaking] kidding me?”
And in that moment I felt what true love is – I felt the sacrifice and the willingness to go beyond her own fears in order to make me happy. When I think she can’t get any better, I’m always proven wrong.
She took the more difficult route up to the first platform, climbing the staples. I followed after she got up to the top and felt good until I was realizing how high up we were going to be. We sat on the first platform for at least 15 minutes trying to get the courage to adventure out, but she just couldn’t do it, so I went out on my own – I was just happy Kyla was up there and faced her fear that I didn’t know she had until a few minutes before the climb up. Oh, and the head instructor said that this sort of thing happens all the time and 9 out of 10 relationships do just fine afterwards.
I’m not exactly sure that I can say I enjoyed myself, but glad that I at least gave it a shot. My thinking was that this was going to be a physical challenge, not such a psychological one. Everything is connected by wires – wires secure the poles to each other, to the ground, and the wires all pull on each other; the tension between them creates the balance that holds everything together. The problem with this is that everything sways a little and nothing is really stable. The platforms, the ropes, the elements you’re climbing on are all connected by wire and your weight causes them to sag slightly – basically it was just really nerve-wracking because nothing felt safe because of the slight wobble and play in the lines. I walked on wooden platforms that were on wires connecting platforms, then up the Stairway of Heaven, over 2 parallel telephone poles, through rope loops, then back through the loops and telephone poles, where I then walked the plank 60 feet above the Earth to the final platform where I met Kyla to zipline back to safety, security and sanity.
Poor Kyla had to climb up to that top platform and was even more terrified about zipping down. She looked so cute as we finally got her talked into going down. They say that couples usually look at each other as they’re going down and that helps – she looks at me with those big, beautiful brown eyes full of tears of fear, we count down and as she starts zipping she says, “I love you!” and I was in such shock that she zipped and I had my mouth hanging open and had to catch up to her to tell her I loved her too! I know she didn’t take it as me snubbing her, but she just opened up in such a way I was in pure shock.
After we pulled the lines back to the platform, we wrapped our arms around each other and kissed like we were on the brink of death, with thoughts that we would never see the ground or each other again. Neither one of would have done this ropes course if we realized what we were getting into, but we Gardened for Gains. We made gains in our lives by uprooting ourselves from our conventional ways and taking a leap of faith. When you lift your roots from the Earth it may be a shock to your system, but you may just find yourself planted in a much better place when you return.