We planned it as a wonderful family weekend in Branson, and I looked forward to a leisurely drive through eastern Kansas and western Missouri.
What I did not realize—until it was too late—was the massive fear-mongering I would face at the end of the journey.
Although I grew up a tree climber, I have developed a fear of heights. I cannot and will not attempt stair-climbing past two floors.
Forget the Eiffel Tower challenge or the Washington Monument steps or any of those glass elevators meant to remind me I am no longer on the ground floor.
I will not—cannot do it. No one can bully me into a roller coaster ride or coax me to look over the side of the Grand Canyon.
What kind of masochist designs bridges with slots between the boards or glass walkways between tall buildings?
These are not my friends.
So I cheerfully drove to Branson, blissfully ignorant of what I would soon face. Before I hit the main drag, I suddenly faced massive hills—heart-stopping obstacles.
The worst part was the ascent without being able to see what was on the other side. I knew the downside of the hill must present itself, but I could not see it until my car topped the ridge.
Then I had to drive down that slope while my heart hammered its kuh-thump, kuh-thump. I refused to look at the steep sides around me.
“Focus on the center line,” I told myself out loud, aware of how my voice shook.
Seven—count ‘em —seven dangerously steep hills. The only thing that kept me going was the promised treat of meeting my family—if I survived the drive.
I recited every Bible verse I knew about fear, called on angels to surround me, screamed my prayers out loud.
Sweaty palms. Thumping chest. Quick breaths.
Finally, the last hill was conquered, and I rolled into level ground. I pulled over and closed my eyes.
Survival tasted sweet.
The only cloud on a weekend of family fun was the certainty I would have to face those hills on the return trip. Or stay in Branson for the rest of my life.
Whether it’s the facing of a fear, pushing through an emotional obstacle or just trying to survive another day —we all meet our mountains of challenge.
And we’ll never know if we can conquer them until we actually go through the process. Finish the journey—no matter what it costs us.
Hope streams in as we discover another layer of perseverance we didn’t know we owned.
And survival becomes the end result of a battle fought and won.
©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
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