‘It’s okay,’ we told her. She was left to wipe the tears. My heart hurt a little for her. I long to see joy within their eyes.’: Camp caregiver’s kindness and encourages girl to ‘face her monster’

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“I would like to tell you a story about a time I spent two amazing days, with a group of 200 middle schoolers up at camp.

I think it fits with what we are all facing these days.

And, although I have tried to narrow down my thoughts, this one might still take a while. So, grab your mug, get cozy, and settle in for a little bit.

Her name is Maria. She may not appear a hero. This shy, quiet, diminutive 11-year-old. This little one with the big fear. She strapped on her harness, tightened up her helmet, and slowly climbed her way up the stairs to the gut check some 50 feet above the ground.

She made her way to the edge, sat down, and prepared to face her monster. And as she sat there, her classmates below cheered and shouted her name and counted her down.

And still, she could not jump. After several agonizing moments, Maria decided she couldn’t jump. And she climbed back down the stairs.

However, some 15 minutes later, there she was again, making that slow climb to the top of the tower. How brave is that?

For her monster was no smaller. In fact, perhaps it had grown even larger. This time, the cheers and chants grew larger and louder as her classmates so wanted to see her successfully complete the challenge.

But as before, Maria could not bring herself to jump. She climbed back down.

My heart hurt a little for her. I pray for these children’s success. I long to see joy within their eyes. She was left to wipe the tears.

But I’ll be darned if not 10 minutes later, there she was again making the climb!

And I thought to myself why can’t we all be like that? Why do we give up so easily? Why do we so often back down from the monsters and fears that sit with us?

Here she was, this little one with the giant fear, trying to conquer it yet again. Perhaps the 3rd time really is a charm. And, it would make for such a great story if she jumped.

But this isn’t that story. For a third time, despite the encouragement, applause, and prayers from her friends, she could not bring herself to jump.

And as I watched her slowly make her way down for the final time, I thought to myself, her monster was just too big.

But we can celebrate her grit and courage to face it time and time again. And so, we embraced her. Because that’s what we do. We caregivers, who want to protect those we care for.

And we told her, ‘It’s okay.’ Because that’s what we do. We empaths, who want to make everything OK.

But as I walked away, I couldn’t help but wish she could have jumped.

Because that’s what we do, we dreamers and seekers and believers in the happy ending.

Moments later, as I stood on the field and watched a pair of students zipping down the zip line, who should I see smiling, screaming, soaring? You guessed it. It was Maria!

I threw up both fists, smiled, yelled out a ‘Whohoo, Maria!’

And, in that moment, it dawned on me.

In the moments when I believed her monster had grown too large, she was simply whittling it down into a more manageable size. Until when the chance came to finally defeat it, she would.

And I thought to myself, why can’t we all be like that?

So today, I leave you with this story and hopes that you never forget: your mountain, your fear, your monster is made smaller each time you decide to face it.

Go get to whittling away at it.”

Courtesy of Anthony Garcia

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Anthony Garcia of G Force. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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