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True Grip

July 24, 2009

A few weeks ago when my family was considering climbing one of New Hampshire “four thousand footer” mountains, my anti-wimp response went into autopilot. Before I knew it, I was standing at the Crawford Path trailhead looking like I was auditioning for the LL Bean catalog and smelling like Repel No. 5, all the while trying to swat the bug in my head telling me that I would never make it to the top.

As in life, every journey begins with a step.  I got pretty far just putting one foot in front of the other before I was out of breath, sweating, with muscles screaming. With my jock façade starting to crack, I suggested we stop for a short break to have some water and trail mix.  I could almost feel the molecules of glucose coursing through my veins like miniature St. Bernard dogs out to save my trembling quadriceps.  A second wind blew in and we were off again!

As I’m making my way through a mud field that is hiding the slippery rocks underneath, the stinging in my right foot announces the birth of a blister, but, surprisingly, the pain is overshadowed by a sense of relief when I realize that my boots have really good grip.

Ah…the “a ha” moment! Grip!  In the greater scheme of life, isn’t that what gets us through the rough spots and gives our life traction?  No matter how daunting the walls we have to climb, how unstable the road ahead, or how deep the pain, having grip in our lives gives us the confidence that we can move forward.

I have a friend who has faced the worst challenge of life – coping with the loss of her child – and it amazes me how she has been able to move forward.  It’s not easy and it never will be, but she is moving forward because her “grip” is a very strong marriage that pulls her through the worst of days.

Grip comes in handy for multi-taskers, who face more opportunities for slip-ups. People who successfully juggle work, school, family and 

Summit of Mt. Pierce

who-knows-what-else typically get grip from strong organizational habits or skill in blocking out distraction.

For me, knowing that things can always be worse gives me the traction to face whatever problem comes my way.  Electricity went out? Hey, at least there’s still water.  Kids mess up?  At least they’re healthy.  We don’t have to look far to see someone else in far worse shape than us.  A positive 

attitude is life’s version of a no-slip sole (soul?).

What’s your grip?  What gets you through tough times? Whatever it is, cherish it, take care of it, and it will take care of you.

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