Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I climbed a lighthouse

  While on vacation two weeks ago, I did something for the first time: I climbed a lighthouse.... 258 steps, 193 feet high. That may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it was a big deal to me. I am afraid of heights....very afraid. At the hospital where I work, there is a balcony on the second floor overlooking the main lobby. I can climb the steps to it, but I cannot go to the railing and look over. I start getting dizzy and nauseous..... and that is just one floor. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse is the equivalent of 12 stories.

 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.

                                (My nieces and I at the top)

  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:

My fears:

1) Snakes

2) Drowning

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

18) Dogs

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

30) Muslims

31) Ultra masculine guys

32) Telling people what I truly feel

33) Failure

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

53) Homelessness

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.

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