“Get me out of here!” The beginner shouted. “Get me out of here!”
“Calm down!” the guide replied.
“Calm down?! Did you hear that? Calm down he said,” the rock climber announced to an imaginary audience. “Calm down? I am going to die! I am stuck on this mountain and cannot move. There is no way out but to climb, and I can’t do this!” The novice exclaimed. “So, what on earth do you mean, ‘Calm down?’! Can’t you see that this is it?! Can’t you see that it is all over?! I can’t do this! Can’t you see? Calm Down. Yeah, right!”
The leader replied, “Do you want to make it? If so, then you must calm down. If you do not, you will never make it out of here with me.”
“Then just leave me here to suffer on my own,” cried the mountaineer. “I can’t do this. I can’t go any further. I just can’t do this. Do you hear me? I...can’t...do...this,” he said choking back his tears.
After a long silence, the guide calmly said, “You are right. YOU can’t do this! YOU can’t make it out of here!”
Looking up, the climber said, “What?! Oh, thanks for the vote of confidence! Thanks for cheering me up.”
“Listen to me,” the leader said sternly, “YOU can’t make it out of here on your own. YOU don’t know the way. You don’t know how!” The guide continued, “If you were here all by yourself, then all would be lost. But YOU aren’t here alone. Remember, I am here with you, and there is no way that I am bailing out on you! There is no way that I am going to leave you stranded out here by yourself. But you are going to trust me. If you do, we will make it through this together. The choice is yours, but I am never going to leave your side. So, what’s it gonna be?”
After a long pause, the amateur said in a quite voice, “But, I am scared.”
“I know,” said the wise leader.
“I am afraid that I may die,” said the nervous climber.
“’I am’ here,” said the leader.
“I can’t do this,” said the frightened man.
“You can if you trust me,” the guide answered. “Look at me. Look at me. Move how I move. Place your hands where I place mine. Step where I tell you to step. I know the way from here. I have been through it before. It will be difficult, but we will make it together. But this will only work if you are willing to follow me.”
The leader stretched out a hand...
by Brian Shivers