FACING FEAR HEAD ON

     Our world is full of fear with COVID-19. For some people, the fear of this disease is crippling, keeping them from leaving their homes and living their lives. There are other fears than just this disease that cripple people. Everyone has fears. Who isn’t scared of something? Whether it be of spiders, snakes, close spaces, water, and so on, we have fears. How do we deal with our fears? Do we run from them or face them?

     I have many fears like fear of being held down or trapped, fear of not being able to pay bills, fear of being abandoned, and fear of heights. When I was a kid when we played dog pile, I always had to be on top because of my fear.

     Recently I have been down because I have been unable to work due to unforeseen circumstances. My biggest fear of not being able to pay bills filled my body with anguish. Depression settled in and the worries ran through me endlessly. The best way I knew how to cope was to keep busy. My friend and personal coach had last Monday off.

     She messaged me while I was still in bed. “Do you want to go Putt Putting?”

     I replied. “Sure.”

     It was just what I needed. Getting out of the house and having fun would keep my mind off my worries. I got up, took a shower, and covered myself in sun lotion. Denise showed up shortly after. As she drove, she talked and I listened. My mind was racing with worries about paying bills with no paycheck.

     Denise glanced over at me. “You’re quiet. Something wrong?”

     I went on to tell her how I didn’t know how we would pay our bills if I wasn’t getting paid.

     “That’s understandable, but today we’ll have fun. Are you afraid of heights?” she said.

     I looked over at her. “Yes, I am.”

     What did my fear of heights have to do with my worries and playing Putt Putt?

     She smiled. “You might not like this, but we are going zip lining.”

     Me, zip lining. There was no way I could climb a tower and then go down a wire over a mountain side. When I go to a store     on the top floor and I walk near the railing, I get this feeling like I’m going to fall, and I back up. My husband, Lou, will look over while I hug a nearby wall. When Lou and I went to Atlanta Georgia to Stone Mountain, he would go to the edge and I would stand as far back from the edge as possible. How would I climb a tower, jump off, and hang over the side of a mountain?

     I swallowed hard. “I don’t know if I can do that.”

     Suddenly I was no longer worried about paying bills. As we drove to Findley Lake, New York, to a resort I started wondering how I could possibly zip line. I could chicken out. I started thinking of ways I could tell Denise I couldn’t do it. Fear twisted my stomach.

     “Don’t worry; it will be fun, and I’ll be right there with you,” she said.

     When we got to our destination, we paid and went over to the area where they put harnesses around us, and we picked out helmets. We walked outside and the final tower we would zip line to stood tall above us. I looked up and felt my knees tremble.

     There is no way I’m getting up that high. I must tell Denise I can’t do it, but she already paid. I can’t back out.

     I followed Denise to the ski lift, and we got on. I held on to the bar in front of us very tightly as it went up the side of a mountain. How could I zip line if I’m scared just going on a ski lift? When we got to the top we walked over to the tower. Denise started up the twisting stairs first.

     As I slowly walked up the stairs Denise’s voice rang through my ears. “Don’t look down. Look up. Take it slow; you’ll be fine. You can do this.”

     My heart pounded, but I made it to the top. That was the first step of facing my fear. The second step was getting up on this platform near the edge of the tower and being hooked to the wire. My heart sounded like a drum in my ears. I grabbed a hold of the side of the tower. Denise encouraged me to let go of the tower and to hold onto the rope that was attached to the wheel that would take me down the wire. I couldn’t let go of the side of the building. I looked down and I began to shake and sweat.

     My mind repeated, “I can’t do this.”

     The guy who hooked us up to the wire told us we could go.

     Denise looked over at me and said, “On the count of three let’s go.”

     One…two…three

     Dang, it’s too late to chicken out. I swallowed hard and let out a scream as I stepped off the tower. Soon my scream turned to laughter. I couldn’t believe it. I was having fun!! I was enjoying my ride down a wire nearly fifty foot in the air. By the time we made it to the third tower, I was in awe. I just faced my fear of heights head on. I texted my husband about it once we got to solid ground.

     If I could face my fear of heights, then I could face my fear of not being able to pay our bills. I could face anything. I realized the only way to deal with fears is to face them head on. That night I applied for a employee grant and came up with a plan to do if I was denied. I could borrow money from my 401k plan. One way or another we would pay our bills and be okay.

     If you have a fear that keeps you from doing things, find the strength deep in you to face it. You might find by facing one fear you’ll find the strength to face others. Fears don’t have to cripple us from living life and being happy. We can rise above them by facing them head on.

     I faced one fear and it helped me face another. I’m very proud of myself for stepping off a fifty-foot tower and flying down a line hanging in mid air by a harness. By facing my fear head on I was flying in the light of recovery.

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