Thursday, July 10, 2014

My own private adventure

It was a magnificent thunderstorm - lighting up and rumbling across the canyon walls, dark and bright all at once. From the top of the Grand Canyon I was in awe of its depths, but a week later, I sit in a lodge in the bottom of the cliffs of Zion, and can't comprehend the heights, and the way I feel sheltered and protected within these massive colorful stone walls. As much as I loved watching the summer storm I was anxious to be outside again, independently exploring another trail. The minute the rain slowed down, I was out the door and took a shuttle to the trail.

When I got out, the path was quiet and lonely, and the rain had stopped and was already steaming off the ground. The trail wound around a bend, and excited to find where it led, I followed it. But what I found made me hesitate: a bridge. I hate bridges. I have this weird terrifying fear whenever I go over anything suspended - a bridge or even so much as a vent in the sidewalk - that it will collapse under the weight of my chair and I will fall. Falling... that's my real fear. So I avoid bridges as much as possible.

But I hadn't gone 20 feet on my so-called "adventure" before I was faced with a bridge. And this bridge was definitely over troubled water - the river was swollen and foamy and high and noisy and fast, because of the storm and the flash flooding it caused. And the bridge was made of wooden planks, the kind that wobble when you move on them... I hate wobbly wooden planks! I sat there, annoyed at the obstacle before me, for about a full minute. Then I felt like God said, "If you want to live the adventure, you're gonna have to cross this bridge." And I felt the weight of that challenge. And it pushed me forward, slowly at first, until the rush of the water and the creak of the bridge made my head spin, and then I bolted across with my eyes closed.

On the other side, my heart pounded and I gasped like I'd run a mile, but it gave me an adrenaline rush and I laughed out loud. I took off down the path, thinking well now that we have THAT out of the way... I looked around me at the beauty of the mountains, darker red stone and darker green trees, accented by the dark slate-grey sky. I heard the thunder roll in the distance and felt the hot and cold atmosphere hit my face in a dramatic alternating dance and I breathed in that fresh moist scent that hangs in the air after the rain. It felt good... it felt... like it might rain again.

I saw a flash of lightening between the mountains ahead of me and it sparked a thought: what if that fierce storm comes back around again? I stopped on the path to pay attention to the direction of the wind - and it was coming right at me. Oh my, I am going to get caught out here in a downpour and be all alone and- and who cares? So I might get soaked. In the most beautiful place I've ever been in my life. Again I laughed and started forward at top speed. "Bring it on!" I challenged the clouds.

I was feeling pretty good when I rounded another bend, and came upon another bridge. The stupid trail was zig-zagging back and forth over this stupid river! I was ticked off. How many more of these things would I have to cross? Well, I'm not gonna! I don't have to put myself through that! But Adventure called my name, and I knew I couldn't turn back now. I held my breath and prayed as I eased on to those stupid wobbly planks, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed a sign on the side of the bridge. I quickly reversed and got off the planks, certain that the sign must say it was under construction or had rotted out or was unfit for use. When I squinted at it, it read: "Capacity: 5 tons." My chair is only 600 pounds. Again, I felt God nudging me. "It can hold you. It's held up a lot more than you will ever be, and it will continue to be that strong. You are not too much for this thing." A very convicting object lesson, so I took a deep breath and rattled on to the bridge. And guess what? It held me.

There were three more bridges after that. But there was no more hesitation. I felt so free - flying around curves, scattering lizards that were sleeping on the path, even meeting a doe on the edge of the path who just watched me smile and laugh. The burden of fear was completely gone. And that's when the adventure began.

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