Sitting facing the solid chunk of rocks , eyes firmly protected from the sight of the ground nearly 1200 feet below, hands gripping the mountain, heart pounding , breathing the thin air at 12,000 feet altitude, I tried to think clearly. Fear was rapidly gaining ground , overtaking the resolve and courage that had carried me this far up the summit trail .
“I’m stopping here. This is far enough.”, I said to my sister who was just ahead of me . Minutes before, she had fought the same battle and won, determined not to return to the trail head without the summit prize .
“It’s not too bad! You can do it. Just keep your eyes to the inside!” She encouraged me , even as she fought her own fears up the rocky trail.
I tried to breathe and get rid of the dizzying fear that was grasping at my throat and mind .
Thus far I’d been able to move up and forward through a few sketchy, to me, sections of trail because I had at least one wall to my left or right . But now I was on the ridge .
We’d been on a wide flat section so I had felt safe . But then we ascended a rise and I saw what looked like a jumbled pile of rocks . Getting closer , the rocks materialized the appearance of steps.
“Are we going up there ?” , I asked gravely .
“I think so, it looks like stairs.” My sister replied, being strong for both of us.
The fear of heights is something I’ve been working on for a few years. As I mentioned in How a Texas flatlander climbed a Colorado mountain. I did not quite make it to to the top of that mountain, and neither did my sister. But she was determined this time that nothing would stop her. She kept going as I halted, but she kept speaking encouraging, brave words to me as she went.
As I sat there trying to calm my breathing, I noticed something crawling on the rocks in front of me, a lady bug! This was the first living creature I had seen since starting the climb. Something happened and I suddenly found myself standing up and moving forward. My sister says it was angels lifting me up, quite possibly true. Or maybe they just lifted my fear. But onward and upward I went and I made it the last little bit , knowing that going down was still yet to come.
Once on top I had to stay far from the edges and quickly found a flat rock to sit on and gather my senses. After a couple of minutes I was able to look around at the 360 degree view. My video doesn’t do it justice!
The views were amazing! But I was still wondering if a helicopter would be able to rescue me from up there. I shook off that thought, knowing I was going to have to make it down, no matter how long it took!
My sister’s friend made it up a few minutes later and we all laughed and congratulated each other and shared our stories of wanting to quit and amazement at our accomplishments. We had passed children and dogs coming down while on the climb up so we felt a little silly, but we all knew that this was something not everyone could do. This was special! There was another lady on the summit who told us she had been conquering fears that day. We high-fived each other. We took pictures and ate a snack. I let loose a little high-altitude gas and that made us all laugh! Then it was time to go down.
I’m happy and thankful to say that going down was nowhere near as bad as expected. Tears of thankfulness, pride and relief attempted to overwhelm me after making it past the scariest parts, but I held it together. Some of the sketchy sections required much prayer and self talk , including the words “happy dog’ because of the dogs we’d seen and “gravity is holding me down” which helped me feel like I wasn’t going to suddenly fly off the edge. I knew God was helping me all the way up and down. My faith in God’s love for me and power to protect me is what gets me through! And my sister was there for me, offering to go first, leading, guiding. God bless her!
Face your fears head on. One person is afraid of heights, another of dogs, others of snakes, speaking in public, failing, rejection, etc. Every fear has the potential to limit your life in some way, either major or minor. Whatever it takes. Do not let fear stop you from living your life to the fullest! Find a supportive person or group.Read books. Baby steps are steps! Question the thoughts that paralyze you. Put them on a mental white board and examine them. Maybe those thoughts are not true. Good luck. The views are worth it!