Monday, August 1, 2011

Climbing the Mountain

News flash…none of us is getting through this alone, and by this I’m talking about the crazy journey called life. And here's what recently drove this bit of information home for me.

Last week, as I was getting ready for the Save Stitch house concert at the Sears family home, I turned on 20/20. Although I was bustling about, packing things up and preparing music, a particular segment about a phenomenal, brave man grabbed me, and I had to sit down and watch.

Chris Waddell was twenty years old when a skiing accident rendered him paraplegic. Although I’m sure initially he had many dark days coming to terms with his new reality, ultimately he did not let this disability slow his life, nor dampen his dreams.

He became a champion skier again, without the use of his legs. But that wasn’t enough for him.

He decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He found a film company to make a documentary about his quest, then put his dream into motion. In a specially equipped handcycle, he slowly made his way up the mountain, sometimes able to turn his front wheel only one revolution an hour, thus the name of his film “One Revolution”. He was determined to prove to the world, but perhaps above all to himself, that he was strong and capable, and that this injury was not going to rob him of his independence.

But by the time he got within 100 feet of the mountaintop, the terrain became impossible for him to manuever. His wheels simply would not turn over the crags and rocks. His team laid down two by fours for him but it was impossible, the mountain was too steep and rocky. At that point, they picked him up and began carrying him.  He shouted for them to put him down, that he would do this on his own. That’s when one of the main advisors on the film took him aside to have a talk.

“Don’t you understand,” he said, “that no one climbs a mountain alone?”

And this is the part where I started to bawl. Because I was on my way to this beautiful fundraising house concert (for Stitch's legal fees) being lovingly given to me, a gift of kindness, from the Sears family. And another from the Browne family on August 14th. Just given, freely, with love and compassion.

There were moments I almost collapsed under the pressure from this trial. I was losing. I had no money, no energy or fight left. Troy and I went as far as we could, and when we fell, our friends picked us up and carried us. All of you.

We are not climbing this mountain alone.

Nor are you, my friends…

Amy Ferris didn’t face her biggest fear, confronting her brother, alone.
(See the story here, and read the 60 comments from friends around the country who rallied behind her:

Amy Wise is not fighting her court battle alone. 

Erin and Beth didn’t win their right to marry alone.

Georgie is not starting a business alone. Linda didn't start her radio show alone.

Monica is not raising her son with autism alone.

Dani, a single mom, is not raising her girls alone.

None of us are climbing a mountain alone, nor should we. That’s what’s hard to grasp at times. We don’t want anyone to pick us up and carry us the last 100 feet. We want to do it all ourselves. But that’s not what being human is all about. We are here to help each other when the road becomes impossible. And we are also here to accept love and friendship when we need to be carried, for in doing so, the givers are also blessed.

This has been a huge lesson for me the last two years, and something I will never forget. I hope you will keep this statement in your hearts when your road is impossible.

No one climbs a mountain alone.


  1. Couldn't have said it better myself, Hollye. We are all blessed by love and friendship. We just need to learn to accept it open;y and with joy and gratitude.

  2. Loved this…..and honored to be your friend and part of such a beautiful, accepting, non judging circle of women!!! oxoxoxoxo

  3. oh my gosh I'm so behind on everyone's blogs and then you are with all of us! I love you Hollye. Thank you for just being you. Your's amazing! Love...A.

  4. Oh, this made me cry, Hollye! That part where the guy picks him up and tells him no one climbs a mountain alone: instant tears. Thanks for sharing this. You have also made me feel less alone in so many ways!!
    xoxo B

  5. Hollye, we haven't met, but I follow you a bit via Troy's page and your blog. Your insights always resonate with me so through your beautiful words! Thank you for bringing truth to the page and for making the world a better place.

    This was a very important post. It feels good to help others and we need to remember that and accept it when we're on the receiving end, too.

  6. We're only as alone as we want to be. Reach out... a hand will be there. :)

  7. A lovely post Hollye and very true.

  8. Hollye,
    Thank you for reminding me that it is important to let others know that you are there for them. We get so wrapped up in our own lives that sometimes we forget our inherent duty to mankind. The suffering of others, though unbearable to watch, is important to note. Judgment, mine or that of others is inconsequential and should be shrugged off ASAP. A gesture, no matter how small , can have an immeasurable uplifting effect on the lives of those that require our aide. A prime example, the best I can find, is Christy Sillman, a loving woman that helps herself by helping others. You have inspired me to thought. Believe me, that is hard to do as I am not a great thinker, at least I think I'm not.


I love hearing your point of view- thank you for taking the time to comment and be part of the conversation!