Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tying the Knot...Waiting to Fall

I like one of Franklin D. Roosevelt's well known quotes, When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. It serves me well when I get overwhelmed. When I feel myself buried in work, I feel my hands slipping down that rope, inch by inch, but I remember, I won't fall if I can remember the importance of tying that knot.

Although the idea of the quote is to "hang on" until help arrives or until you have the strength to crawl back up the rope, I also tend to bring to mind my children's faces as they joyfully sway from the rope swing at camp, letting go of the rope, and jumping into the waters of Ambejejus Lake when they are ready. Every summer we make our trip by boat over to the next cove. For years I'd not known about the swing but one day my husband told us of the fun times he and his friends had enjoyed swimming out to it as teenagers. We discovered the rope swing was still there, all these years later. So now it's become an annual summer event. We cannot leave camp until the kids have had their turn jumping from the rope swing.

I go as the photographer and cheerleader. I watch my children grab the rope and after minutes of having each of them build enough courage or confidence to jump from the edge of the island, I smile back at them and snap their pictures before they hit the water. "Did you get a good shot?" they ask time after time.

Someday I think I'll ask my family or friends to snap my picture as I reach the end of my rope time and time again. It happens frequently at the end of school quarters when I have a pile of correcting to do and grades to record for the 100 teenagers I teach each semester. I'll have them help me remember that I've been on this rope many times before and the knot will hold until the work is done and it's time for me to let go. And then the pictures can remind me of the joy I have felt as I abandon the rope and fall into the oasis of a job well done.


  1. I sooo needed this piece this week! Thank you for the beautiful quote and the images of the kids too! Just last week I found myself at the end of my rope. I adore the thought of tying a knot and hanging on but also thinking that it would be nice to just let go and dive into the cool refreshing water. I have never been on this rope on the lake. Just maybe I'll have to make a trip to this special place this summer for my own images when I find myself at the end of another rope!

  2. It's a good metaphor, Anne, and I like where you went with it.