“I refuse to be another stepping stone.”
I believed her.
“Why am I the last step before someone finds their greatest adventure? Here I am, just a stone to be stepped on.”
It was easy for me to stay quiet. To sip my latte and just listen because I know that ache. I’ve felt that kind of frustration coil itself around my muscles. Time passes and it just ties and tightens those knots of disappointment.
I didn’t have words that would wrap her wounds with the kind of healing they were begging for.
But I think I have some things to say now. I think I’ve got a letter to write to the ones out there just like her.
Darling, You are not simply a step. You are a ledge.
Oh, and when they step off your steady ground, they are left free falling and it seems like the time of their lives. Breath rushing to their lungs, the world full of possibility. Everything feels so free.
But they always come crashing–down, down, down. Just know they will hit the water every single time.
After that, it’s nothing but work. Swimming and holding their breath. Strokes of effort over and over again trying to find the dry land they once knew. It doesn’t take them long to remember you. Steady ground’s beauty starts flooding their memory as they choke on the waves of the unreliable waters they left you for.
You are a steady, strong, awe-inspiring ledge. You are exciting. You bring a sense of adventure, but you’re solid and dependable and you are where people climb great and far distances to stand.
But there are going to be few who climb to your great heights.
From where I’m standing, reaching a peak like you is a long way to travel. Only the brave and strong will go that far. But there are going to be those who make it and who still leave you for the sake of plummeting into the waters below. Because the dive seems like the climax of their journey.
But just know, they missed it all if they missed you. The dive may have lasted for a minute, but the view they had from standing with you will burn itself into the deepest parts of who they are.
Oh, they’ll be carrying you around for years to come.
Even if they’re far too proud to admit it.
But baby, they’re probably not going to climb all the way back to you. Because very few can take the kind of journey it takes to win a heart like yours twice. But, that’s okay. Other climbers are coming and one of them just won’t be able to leave that horizon that they see from the firm earth below their feet.
You were never a stepping stone. You were a ledge that led to the free fall of the ones who were never meant to hold your heart.
But you are a thing of beauty to the brave ones. You are a glorious destination to the traveler who knows the value of the view versus the temporary excitement of the jump.
You’re a firm ledge, darling. You’re a perfectly lovely piece of this breathtaking earth. And you are worth the climb and worth the one who builds a home where you are.
You will never be just another stepping stone.