Devil’s Tower

I realized today that I have not in any way imagined or exaggerated my fear of heights.

Somehow despite my lifelong dreams of being a rock climber, despite practicing to be a gymnast on monkey bars & in huge oak trees from an early age, despite trying to act like one of the guys climbing scaffolding & ladders and roofing… Despite all this and more there came a point when I realized, I am a little bit afraid of heights… I don’t know if it was while climbing on a speaker on top of scaffolding to attach a stage light, or while waiting in line for a roller coaster, or while on a 3 story scaffold tying to seal the outside of our house. (Actually that time was pretty clear when I froze halfway between standing and kneeling because I was suddenly paralyzed, looking 3 stories down thru the cracks in the 12 inch board I was standing on, I literally couldn’t move even to kneel down and calm myself I froze there shaking for so long I thought someone would have to call in a crew with a helicopter to pick me up and carry me off.)
I didn’t mean to be afraid, I know I shouldn’t be, but the fact remains I am, very much so….

As proven again today by the fact that I blithely started out up the boulders that make up the base of Devils Tower. My brother and sister where with me, before too long my brother was out of sight, Jess stayed with me, until she turned around to see where I was and found me plastered to a rock, flat on my stomach unable to move. Every part of my brain was saying climb, except that one part that was saying oh my gosh you’re way up in the air, and its steep. The thing is I don’t remember my brain saying that, I just felt it. So much fear I was trembling and couldn’t do anything but stay pasted against the rock until I got some sense back.

Honestly I’m ashamed to admit I was afraid. I don’t like looking stupid and I further dislike looking weak. Or feeling weak for that matter…

My sister and I talked my way eventually up the mountain, I genuinely wanted to enjoy it. I’ve always liked climbing and further liked the idea of serious climbing… I wanted to be one of those climbers scaling that tower today but instead, I get a hundred feet off the ground and look to see how amazing this place is and I collapse, unable to make myself move. It’s not funny or nice.

As I kept climbing I started mentally praying and I found myself saying in the same way that last week I prayed God heal me, God heal me because I don’t know how to heal myself, I don’t know what I need… I felt myself begging God to make me not this way anymore.

I don’t know when or if my equilibrium and mind and emotions will all settle completely down about how far off the ground I am. But I know that I have been getting lots of practice with pushing thru and doing things that scare me and intimidate me, even things that I love and have always dreamed of. But I collapse 1/3 of the way into it, after marching boldly that far I find myself plastered to a rock wanting to cry but mostly just trying to find how to force myself to go on.

The answer I’m finding is to keep trying. And to know yourself, know your fears, know what holds you back and where you hold yourself back. Be honest with god about it. Sure He already knows but you need to say it out loud. And whether the fear lifts or not just focus on the one step right in front of you that has to be taken. Some of my fear is just fear, some is being out of control. If I narrow my vision a little, I know we are supposed to expand our horizons, but sometimes its too much. To expand we have to condense our view to a single point, a guiding light, a still small voice, the next step. It’s suddenly faith, its belief that if I surrender all, I’m carrying less and I just have to move… And I’m less overwhelmed with the vastness of it all.

I doubt you’re afraid of heights and climbing Devils Tower may not matter to you. But it mattered to me, because each step was faith and healing and years of wisdom running through my head, coursing thru my veins, sealing in my heart, climbing over rocks, scaling mountains and really living life…
Today was a very good day.

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