Monday, December 27, 2010

{on our 8th anniversary} the story of the rock heart. part 2.

so here we are, the group of us, just before we left for our 3 day backpacking trip.

notice my hair done & make-up on?  don't judge me, i was a novice.  

we enjoyed the ride down with windows open and chicago playing in the background.  {ben's oldest brother matt was driving & he is a forever lover of the 80's.}

we got to our first campsite and slept just outside the car.  the next morning we had "our last meal," egg burritos.  we filled up our water bottles, got our trail mix ready, and started off on the first leg of the hike.

i had no idea what i was in for.

the first few miles were a downhill descent through a crack in the middle of two rock walls that only allowed enough space for a human, not including our backpacks.  

much like this:

***picture provided by google.

so we had to belay the packs down with ropes.  as the group explained what we were doing and acted like this was no big deal, i knew at that point that i was in over my head.  and that was just the beginning.

but i kept going, pushing myself to physical limits i hadn't been pushed to before. the whole time watching ben with scrutinous eyes.  

the second day my knee was hurting, and we had stopped to rest for a few minutes and have lunch.  i tried not to complain because i didn't want to be a pansy...or have anyone regret that they invited me, so i just sat down on the rock, pulled off my knee brace and started rubbing my knee.  before i knew it, ben had grabbed my backpack and wrapped it around the front of his body, with his own backpack around the back.  he walked like this for about an hour.  i have a picture of him wearing both packs, but i couldn't find it.

on the second night, we had pitched our tents and finished dinner.  ben and i had some time alone.  he told me how much it meant to him that i was there, that he knew it was hard on me and he appreciated me so much for coming.  he told me why he loved nature so much, that when he's outside, he feels the closest to God.

 he gave me a rock that he had found.  it was small, and shaped like a heart.  i put it in my pocket, and then he kissed me.  even though we were sweaty and grimy and had dirt in our teeth, it didn't matter.  i knew i loved him.

the third day was the most brutal, and the day i saw my life flash before my eyes.
we had the choice to either hike up what was called a "scramble" and then it would be just one more mile to reach the car....or we could hike 7 more miles to get out to the car.  since i had no idea what a scramble was, and it sounded easy enough, i was excited to finish earlier than we planned and take the shortcut.  we were all tired, and the thought of getting to the car sooner was too tempting.

here is the best picture i could find of the "scramble":

***gracias again, google images, for the picture.

so how easy does that look?  for an inexperienced hiker like me, it didn't look easy at all.  but i kept hearing in my head, "just get up there, and then it's only one mile to the car!" so i started up after the others.  

there were two teenage guys behind us, about 17 yrs old or so.  they were several feet below us.  i was the last one in our group, and as the scramble started to get steeper, i became more nervous.  we were hiking up it at an angle, but my balance was off because i had my backpack on and i kept leaning back.  suddenly, my foot slipped and i started sliding doooooowwwn at a really fast pace.

the canyon echoed with my high-pitched shriek.  


i stopped sliding, and tried to grip my hands into something that would hold, at the same time trying to get my footing.  phew!  i was stable.  i looked below me, and about 200 ft. down were the teenage boys, whose eyes were as big as headlights.  we exchanged scared glances as they easily did the math in their head....that if i went down, then i would probably be taking them with me.

i looked up, too scared to move, just in time to see both ben and troy climbing down as quickly as they could to help me.  finally they grabbed my hands and pulled me up to a more flat area of the scramble.  

by the time i finally made it to the top i was seriously exhausted.  i think i used every single muscle available to make it up that stupid "scramble" and wanted to kiss the dirt and rock-filled ground as i lay on it for a moment to rest.

we still had a mile to go to the car, and by this point i felt like my body was shutting down.  i had hurt my knee while climbing/crawling to the top, all of my water was gone, and it was over 100 degrees.  i felt like i could not go any further.  the rest of the group started on the mile, they were just as tired and wanted to get to the car as quickly as possible.  ben and his brother matt waited for me, and after about 5 minutes i was ready to go.  

but again, before i could put on my backpack, ben grabbed it and slung it over his front with his own still on his back.  he walked with me the whole way, giving me his water whenever i asked for it.  he offered me the m&m's in his trail mix...since he knew that was my favorite part.

 and finally, FINALLY, we were at the car.   

i remember driving away from the canyon, looking at the beautiful red rocks and arches.  i felt like i had conquered the world, because i knew that i had to dig deep in order to get through it, and also get through it without whining like a baby.  

 ***google images, we thank you.

i couldn't wait for a bathroom, a shower, a good meal.  a bed.

but i had learned a more important lesson than the fact that i could do hard things.  i thought back to how ben had treated me, and the words that my dad had said just a few days before.  ben's patience and kindness, his complete unselfishness.  he had never once treated me like i was slowing them down, when i know very well i probably was.  he wasn't bothered at all that i had greedily gulped down my water instead of rationing it, so that i had needed to drink his water.  in fact, he actually seemed grateful that i was relying on him.  he liked to help me.

these qualities about ben, it has been 8 years now.....and they are still the same.  it wasn't a front he wanted to portray while we were dating, he is as good as he led me to believe.  the words that my dad said to me during the blessing were true, and i am so grateful that i had that mini, 3-day experience to show me how things would be for the rest of my life with ben.

i have kept that rock heart, it's in my jewelry box now.  i showed him just a while ago that i still had it and he was surprised.  but i wanted to keep it as a reminder.

these past 8 years of being married to ben haven't been perfect, but they have been so, so good.  he reminds me all of the time what it means to really be married.  that it's about sacrifice, and unselfishness, forgiveness, humor, kindness, helping each other to reach the end, staying close to God, pushing ourselves to do hard things, and doing them together.  in fact, that's how we grow closer.

i love you, benjamin j.  thanks for an amazing 8 years!


FB said...

OH I LOVE this story! Bennigins is SO sweet. But you Lynsey Lou are a rad chick for agreeing to go on that nightmare of a trip. I would have lasted....maybe 8 hours...maybe. So, when is your lease up?? I just think you guys are too far from us, we missed you at the parade and at Christmas dinner :(

Rachel Holloway said...

What a great story! Loved reading it-- :)

So glad you're blessed with each other--truly, genuinely both fantastic people! Happy anniversary!

AL said...

Hey was not a total nightmare of a trip! We had a lot of fun and really enjoyed that Lynard Skinnard had decided to come along...even though we knew she was nervous and inexperienced. I think it showed to us that she has bravery and character to push herself to do hard things, and to be supportive of to people she loves...even if the things they love involve scrambling, belaying, and not bathing!

I have some pics from that trip that I will have to find and will send you. I have that one of Ben with both backpacks on with the arch in the of my favs. I also have pics of Matt making love to the camera in his swim trunks and albino complexion, and one of Third Day Jesse! We loved that trip and the bonding we all had with each other.

We have since had to do many hard things and I am grateful to you and the strength you have been to me over the years. I am also glad that Ben has someone to love and still appreciate him. He is one of my favorite brothers and you both deserve each other and eternal happiness.

Oh, and I was wondering if you wanted to go backpacking with me and some of my girlfriends this summer. A trip like Escalante were you have to "pack out what you pack in"....nothing you can't handle right?! SIKE!!! :)

lynsey said...

my lovely allison,

you are absolutely right we had a TON of fun on that trip, and i'm not being sarcastic here. we laughed a lot and i still laugh about poor 3DJ losing her mind and not even realizing it! and us just giving each other "looks" over her head, like "ummmm. heatstroke, anyone?"

or the awkward & hilarious silence that followed after she announced in the tent to me that if i ever broke up with ben, she would TOTALLY get in on that action.

or the look of fear in my eyes when ben informed me that he had brought me some "toothpaste" that also doubled as the soap i would wash my body and clothes with! good ol' dr. brauner's. blech!

OR the one and only toilet that sat up on a hill, completely uncovered & without any walls around it. so that all could see who needed to do their bid-ness.

good times!

the trip was awesome, don't get me wrong. just for the purpose of this story i was telling the hard parts & ben's reaction to them. i learned more about mister ben on that trip than i had in the 8 months we were dating. and i knew after those 3 days that he was a good egg, always had been, and always would be. :)

love ya al!

ohmylanta said...

Great experience! My hubby and I love backpacking. The in laws put me through the ringer as part of Tanner family initiation. Of course we haven't been for a couple of years because of the young kiddos, but I always love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I conquer a doosy!