As we waited in line, I heard the girls scream as they went over the edge. The hair on my neck stood up and a bit of nervousness gripped me.
Why be afraid? This wasn’t a line for a haunted house. No, this was the line for the Fall Colors Ski Lift Ride, at Rib Mountain, Wisconsin. We had traveled a couple of hours specifically to take this ride, because the fall colors were near peak, and we heard the ski lift provided stunning views.
The air was deliciously crisp, and the light winds rattled the leaves, causing them to chatter noisily, like a flock of birds. The sun was starting to set, and the fall colors gleamed in the “golden hour.”
Our turn to get on the lift arrived and we were swept up onto the seat, the safety bar came down, and our chair rotated around the corner. I gasped. The hill dropped off below our feet, and the view was both beautiful and frightening. My thoughts drifted back to the screaming girls. Now I was screaming a little on the inside, I hadn’t expected to be up so high.
While I imagine we weren’t as high as ski lifts in the Rocky Mountains are, I do have a minor fear of heights. Actually, let me rephrase that, I have a fear of not being in control.
Is anybody with me on that one?
Being up over 60’-70’ in the air, with our seat being supported only by a single bar attached to a cable, I felt I had no control over my safety, and that seriously bothered me. Nothing left to do but take a deep breath and enjoy the beauty spread out around us for miles.
I was torn. Torn between viewing the visual array of vibrant colors before me and being afraid of how high I was. I white-knuckle gripped the safety bar. As I get older, some of my greatest regrets are from the (sometimes minor) risks I never took, due to over-cautiousness. But it’s time to quit missing out.
Do you ever get these mental battles with yourself like I do, when you know you should be enjoying yourself, but you have these teeny, little irrational fears? Now I get angry with myself for letting uncertainties stew and grow. These fearful thoughts were triggered by the screams that went before me.
The ski lift ride reminds me of life.
What voices are we listening to in life and what fears do they ignite? Are they telling you you’re worthless, too old, too young, you’re not good enough, you aren’t going to make it, you don’t have what it takes?
I don’t know about you, but I know sometimes I need to cut loose from fear and self-concern, live a little recklessly, and learn to trust. Whether it be trust in the ski lift cable, or even better yet, just trust in our Maker.
I took a deep breath of cool air and made the decision to ignore my fear. It was laughable, really, but couldn’t that be said of most of our fears? I began to giggle, becoming giddy with excitement, as we continued gliding slowly, overlooking the landscape, feet dangling.
It was my choice to trust, to be exhilarated by the heights, the cool air, and the colors. Perhaps it’s time we look beyond our fears, no matter how large or small, and into the amazing world around us.