There have been things I missed out in life because of my fear. I always wanted to climb the fire tower at Cook's Forest, PA; but could never get above the first landing. I watched as others climbed to the top and envied them. On vacation one year, we visited the Mason's building in Alexandria, VA. There were places where you could get walk out on balconies way up on this high building.......but I couldn't do it. And now I was going to climb something higher than that....at least the steps for the lighthouse are inside....
I paid to do this?!
As I paid the $8.00 for my ticket, I found myself questioning my sanity. I felt like they should be paying me to climb it, and a lot more than $8.00. I stood in line and listened to the do's and don'ts of climbing. And then the climb began. By the time I was halfway, my legs were killing me. I kept climbing and didn't look down..... and finally we were at the top. The doorway to the outside platform was in front of me. I paused for a moment, wondering if I could really do this,,,, then I stepped out onto the platform.
The view was breathtaking...or maybe it was the reality of being that high up in the air with just a railing between me and a 193 foot drop that took my breath. I somewhat shakily moved to the side while leaning my back against the top of the lighthouse. Gripping my cell tightly as if I feared it was going to jump off the railing, I started snapping pictures. My nieces leaned on the railing for some pictures, then wanted me in one.....tossing all sanity to the wind, I moved slowly to the railing and put my back to it for some pictures,,, and I survived. I did not walk to the railing and look down, but looked out across the land below and took pictures.
The descent was much easier than climbing, As I descended, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. I had conquered a fear of heights and did something I never thought I'd do. Would I do it again? Most likely yes.
The experience has stuck with me. I truly did conquer a fear of mine by climbing that lighthouse, and discovered it was worth it and it wasn't as bad as I expected. As I have thought about that, it has made me wonder how many others of my fears may be a bit irrational and wouldn't be as bad as I thought they may be. My list of fears is rather long:
3) Passing a truck full of logs and having the logs fall on my car crushing me (I remember hearing about that happening to someone when I was a kid)
4) A Hillary presidency
5) A Trump presidency
6) Growing old
7) Growing old alone
8) Liberal policies
9) Driving on winter roads
10) Mice......yeah, that is weird for a guy
11) Of never finding my place in life
12) Of biting into something with mayonnaise on it
13) That the chicken at the Chinese restaurant might not really be chicken
14) Taking a chance
15) Of existing rather than living
16) Of having our freedoms taken away
17) Of my entire family dying and leaving me all alone
19) Getting sprayed by a skunk
20) Falling down the steps and breaking something
21) Of people seeing the real me
22) Bleeding to death while on blood thinners
23) Of meeting a drunk driver on the road
24) Of never making a difference
25) Of making friends
26) Of hitting another deer with my car
27) The front of the church
28) Singing in front of the church
29) Totally trusting God
31) Ultra masculine guys
32) Telling people what I truly feel
34) Disappointing people
35) Dying in a house fire
36) Getting cancer
37) Getting Alzheimers
38) Getting a disease named after me
39) Falling off a cliff - ironic since I have rarely been near any in my life
40) Of living life in a rut
41) Of choking to death
42) Walking through the woods for fear of running across a snake
43) Lightning (who would take pictures of lightning anyway?)
44) Having a stroke or heart attack
45) Driving between concrete barriers on the highway
46) Of looking stupid
47) My outfit not matching
48) Sending a friend request on Facebook
49) Fear of getting germs from the faucet handles or door handles in a public bathroom (love the automated ones!)
50) Fears of semi trucks beside me on the four lane
51) Fear of what people truly think of me.
52) Job interviews
54) Starting new jobs
55) Dying from lack of oxygen while wearing a tie. (Not really.....I made that one up. But it COULD happen.......)
And I could go on. A lot of those fears are irrational - well, the snake one isn't - and some are rational, but reading that rather ridiculous list - if anyone actually reads them - is proof I have let fear rule my life. If I could conquer the fear of climbing a 193 foot lighthouse - which I didn't pray about ( I was too busy wondering what on earth I was thinking and if I could get a refund if I couldn't go the whole way) - what could I conquer by truly surrendering my fears to Him and asking Him to help me conquer them.... well some of them. I will keep the one about snakes.
But seriously, I wonder where I would be if I had not let fear rule me all of these years..... and how much better life could have been if I had surrendered them to God and trusted Him more.
The good news is it isn't too late... I can start now..... and so can we all.