Last Friday we took a road trip to Jefferson City to visit my cousin, who works at the Capitol. After lunch and a visit to the House floor to watch a bunch of politicians say a bunch of stuff (I don’t know. I was too distracted by corralling an antsy five-year-old to pay attention to the law-making of it all.), we walked to the top of the dome.
TO THE TOP OF THE DOME.
Because Rachael is a capitol insider (again. I don’t know. This may not be her official title.), she gives a lot of tours. And for some special groups, she will take them through locked doors, over narrow catwalks, up a billion steep steps and around a spiral staircase to the top of the dome.
We were a special group.
First, the good news: I met – and surpassed – my goal of walking 5,000 steps that day. And the view WAS gorgeous:
But when I finally made it up to the top (after stopping to rest – and sweat – twice, BECAUSE I AM A WIMP) and ducked through the small door to the concrete balcony, and Rachael asked me if it had all been worth it, all I could huff (and puff) was, “No!”
The sweat was literally rolling off my face and down my shirt. POURING. GUSHING. So gross. And though I’d rolled my eyes when Mark asked me if I’d grabbed my inhaler when we first set off on our Special Capitol Dome Tour, it had been several minutes since my lungs had felt full. And, I’m going to be honest here, my out-of-shape, overweight body simply couldn’t handle One. More. Step.
There was a nice breeze up there on the dome, and I wouldn’t have minded staying there for – oh, I don’t know – EVER. But eventually we had to walk back down.
[Side note: Thankfully, we did not run into any other special tour groups on the way down. LIKE WE DID ON THE WAY UP. Remember when I mentioned the narrow and steep parts of the climb? That's no exaggeration. I'm talking turning sideways so my hips don't brush the walls narrow. So when we met a group of three young people, including one cute intern guy, it was NOT GOOD. Later I told Rachael to please give that guy my apologies, because I'm pretty sure getting UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL with a sweaty middle-aged-ish lady was not on his agenda for the day. And oh yes, we had to get close. There was just no way around it. Sad, sad story.]
When we got back to Rachael’s office, I sucked down a bottle of water and eventually stopped sweating. Shortly after, we walked back to our car and headed home. As the capitol building grew smaller in the rearview mirror, we played our favorite game. Annalyn asked us what the best part of the visit had been, what we’d enjoyed the most.
Strangely enough, I had to agree with my family that the Dome Tour had been the highlight.
Even though it had been hard – really hard! – and resulted in a nasty blister on my toe and calves that didn’t loosen up for three solid days, climbing that building was actually a fun way to spend an afternoon.
I think a lot of things are like that. Painful while it’s going on, rubbing us the wrong way and pushing sweat down our backs and into places that, well, shouldn’t have sweat. Making us want to quit, tempting us to take a seat and wait for everyone to come back.
And sometimes it’s okay to stop and take a breath. Like I said, I had to do it twice while climbing up the dome! But persevering brings rewards better than a pretty view (and better than a blister on your toe).
I don’t have many more motivating words than that. Honestly, I’m talking to myself here. But maybe you’re climbing a mountain or a dome right now, too? Maybe you’re wondering if you’ll ever reach the top, if there’s an end to your spiral staircase?
Then be encouraged. You can make it to the top. The climb will be worth it. And though it’s highly debated in my house, I believe the walk down is WAY easier than the one going up.
Have you ever climbed something tall? Was it worth it?