Friday, December 23, 2011

Barefoot Running: Lesson #2

There is always someone whose feet are sorer than mine.

My intention was to write about a few more challenges that the year presented me, but as other barefoot runners posted comments related to Colton's story, I was reminded, once again, that my road is not nearly as difficult to travel as that of many others. I was forced to consider something I witnessed many years ago, something so extraordinary that it has permanently altered my perspective.

Lesson #2: The Rock Climber

It was a gorgeous summer morning in the year 2000 at Cooper's Rock State Park in West Virginia. I had driven there for respite during a difficult time, and the prescription worked wonders. The mountain vistas were breathtaking. The air was filled with a mixture of scents: the moist floor of ancient woodlands, the mild fragrance of wild rhododendrons in bloom, and the fresh breeze that skimmed across the hilltops. As I walked down a path, leaves from the canopy of trees overhead fluttered and wriggled, allowing the sunlight to dance in random patterns in front of my feet.

Ahead, I could hear voices, and as I rounded a curve, a group of people were standing at the base of a rock face. The rock jutted straight up out of the ground, as sharp and as tall as if it were a skyscraper. A man was clinging to this rough wall, perhaps thirty feet off the ground. The group below shouted, "Move your right foot up and over! One more step! Lift your left hand up! REACH UP!" The man struggled, trembling as he followed the instructions of his comrades. I stood mesmerized, holding my breath, my eyes glued to his every move.

Just as I was wondering why in the world they weren't all simply keeping quiet, I realized that the climber had no sight. Slowly, ever so slowly he crept, climbing without the benefit of seeing where he was or where he had to go, absent any view of his next foothold. It was excruciating to observe. On the one hand, I wanted to leave before the worst imaginable thing happened; on the other hand, I was transfixed, paralyzed -- stricken at the depth of his courage and the profound level of trust he placed in his companions. With a final reach at the top of the rock face, a fellow climber stepped forward to pull the man to safety. The group at the bottom of the rock applauded, shouting in celebration. However, I did not shout or applaud. Instead, I turned to go, grateful the man was uninjured, as I tried to recall how to breathe.

The impact of this experience can not be overstated for me. As a result, just as I asked myself when I turned to leave the climber and his friends, my mind frequently interjects the question, "So, what's my problem?" It happens any time I lose my shoes or the trail is rocky: I am reminded that somebody's feet are sorer than mine. My mind's eye sees the climber, sees what he could not. Then, I whisper to myself, "One more step. REACH UP!"

I tell this story because after reviewing the earlier comments, I simply didn't have the heart to describe my own challenges. My feet are just not that sore. But, I think Anna, Trish and DIcouponqueen could use some new shoes. Their trails are hard and their soles are worn.

At about 11:00 last night, I used the random number generator at to select the winning comment from a field of three who left their email addresses. The winning number was 3! DIcouponqueen, you are the winner of the $100.00 Visa gift card! Congratulations! I hope the gift will lighten your step as you move forward into your challenge. Think of the sightless man. Trust yourself and those who love you. Go one more step!

As for Anna and Trish -- it seems to me that both of you could use a little perk. You'll each receive $50.00 gift cards for making the time and effort to share your struggles here. It sounds to me as if some new shoes would help to soothe your bare feet as you meet the challenges ahead! Remember the climber. Keep reaching up!

Thanks to each of the commenters for helping me honor baby Colton's birthday, his precious life, and his determination to walk the path that is laid before him. His little shoes are those of courage. I think I'll be borrowing them soon.

Here's to the next mile!


  1. I will remember what you just wrote, always! "one more step, REACH UP" I think that this will be my mantra for the new year. Thank you so much Chris!

  2. You are entirely welcome, dear girl! Enjoy!

  3. I'm just NOW seeing this! YAY!!! Love you both!

  4. This story is very good ,from it i learn a lots..

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Hi, just wanted to mention, I liked this blog post. It was practical.
    Keep on posting!

    Look at my web page :: クロエ アウトレット

  7. Hi, just wanted to tell you, I liked this blog post.
    It was funny. Keep on posting!

    My blog post;

  8. eхcellent iѕsues аltοgethеr, you just
    recеіνed a new reаder. What mіght уοu ѕuggеѕt in regагԁs
    to your publish thаt yοu just made a few
    days in thе pаst? Any suгe?

    Cheсk οut my web page - reputation management

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


To add a comment, type the message you want to appear in the box. Then, select "Name/URL" from the drop down message. It isn't necessary to enter a URL. If you prefer, your comment can be anonymous. Then, click preview if you want to see your post prior to publication, or click "post".