We Can Do Hard Things

Photography:Rachel Burt Photography

By Sarah R Moore 

I did a hard thing today. 

While my family was on a long nature hike, I spotted one of those free-standing climbing ropes meant for athletes who are doing intensive training. It had no footholds or knots, just solid rope from top to bottom, suspended from a tall metal structure. 

I casually mentioned to my daughter that I once climbed one of those ropes. 

She looked at me and asked, “Do you want to climb this one, Mama?” 

Here’s the thing: I was 10 years old when I climbed the last one. I was only two years older than my child is now…and let’s be real, she’s a LOT closer to 10 than I am. I was 10 years old 37 years ago. 

I looked up at the rope today and thought, “I don’t think so!” 

And then I remembered my 10-year-old self standing in my school’s gymnasium at the base of a tall rope a lot like this one (except for THAT one had knots and footholds). 

I did a hard thing today. 

I also remembered my 10-year-od self thinking, “I don’t think so,” and my gym teacher standing behind me and saying, “You can do this. Go on up.” 

So, at 10 years old, I scaled the rope. I got all the way to the gymnasium ceiling and then I wondered, “Now, how do I get DOWN?”. I lingered up there for a while before I accepted that there was only one good way to do it. 

As I stood at the base of today’s rope, 37 years later and with my daughter looking up and anticipating my response, I heard a voice inside my head say, “You can do this. Go on up.” 

I looked down at my child and replied, “You know what, baby? We’re strong. The two of us — we’re really, really strong. We can do hard things.” 

And I shimmied my 47-year-old self on up that rope, feeling surprised by how easy it still was to do. 

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