I have a friend who is afraid to go out on a limb. She looks at the mountaintop instead of the step in front of her and gets overwhelmed. There she stays. Fear keeps her from taking that first step despite her talents and passion. What a horrible shame. She has so much to give.
I suppose we are basically born with a natural tendency to be an adventurer that carries over into our adult lives. As a kid, I loved climbing trees. I remember one particular giant cottonwood tree that is still standing today, halfway between my grade school and my mother’s house. I stopped off to climb the tree one day and once I got up there, I had no idea how to get back down. I was way up high and I got that funny feeling in my gut that no matter which way I tried to get down – it was going to hurt.
I sat in that tree for quite some time, telling myself that if I got up there – I could get down. Desperation (and fear of getting in trouble) finally drove me to try. I scraped my knuckles and my knees but I did finally get to the ground without breaking any bones. After that, I felt great pride every time I saw that tree. I knew I had conquered more than just the tree, I had conquered my fear too.
And yet…I still have fears. I still must talk myself through the steps to get started doing something new. It is a life-long process. Crowds make me want to run and hide. My natural tendency is to be a hermit and yet people perceive me to be very sociable. We are all mixtures of many traits. When you see me smiling and talking to people – what you don’t see is the little girl sitting on a limb – telling herself that she can do it, that she will survive, and that she will feel good about it when she does.
I have a feeling that if I had broken my ankle climbing that tree all those years ago – I would have been just as proud of myself and what a badge of courage that cast would have been. For it is the trying that counts. Let me repeat dear friend, it is the trying that counts.