Hope Conquers the Unseen Hills

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.scary hills

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

Discover the battle Abigail faced in “No Visible Scars and how she learned to accept her pathway to freedom.

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What’s the Difference

Have you wondered about the difference between a memorial and a monument?

During the winter of 1995, we toured Washington, D.C. My son and I stood in freezing drizzle as we waited for the Metro subway, then we joined a line of shivering tourists outside the White House. In spite of the weather, excitement traveled with us as we experienced the aura of our nation’s capitol.

We strolled through each floor of the Smithsonian and marveled at the artifacts of ancient history. We ate the famous bean soup in the Senate cafeteria and munched on bagels in the delis. We walked somberly through the white crosses at Arlington Cemetery and read every word of the original Constitution.

While touring the Washington Monument, we learned the difference between a monument and a memorial. Monuments are structures which honor someone or some noble cause. The Washington Monument honors our first president, George Washington.

Lincoln_Memorial_(Lincoln_contrasty)A memorial, such as the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, contains the image of the person for which it is named. Jefferson stands at attention in his memorial. Lincoln sits in a sculptured chair, his immortal words forming an arc around him. http://www.nps.gov/linc/index.htm

As I think about that vacation, I realize my own memorial lies within the soul cavern where God resides. I bear the image of the Almighty One, Emanuel, God with us.

Even when I miss my mother and hate the Alzheimer’s that destroys her mind, a morsel of hope hides within me. God plays spiritual peek-a-boo with my soul.

Even when I feel alone, I do not live in oblivion. God creates a heavenly purpose and sculpts his perfection in me.

Lessons learned. Scars healed.

I place my very self in the safest possible hands—in the omniscient palm of my loving Father. He alone creates in me an eternal memorial.

Hopefully, the memorial of my life reflects the origin of its Light.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1