I am not a risk-taker. There are pros and cons to that.
Growing up, I did have a few moments of carefree adventure. For instance, I spent many, many hours riding our horses, galloping down the dirt roads in the middle of hop fields and orchards, and setting up small obstacles, which my horse and I would fly over.
I drove my Chevy Nova much too fast down the back county roads, while I’m certain my guardian angels were busy trying to keep up.
I will end my confessions of reckless behavior right there!
There is one phobia which kept my feet on the ground for most of my adult life: the fear of flying. A time or two, I would try to imagine myself getting on an airplane and going to my dream destination, but the thought of boarding and taking off on that plane, would cause anxiety to rise up in the pit of my stomach. However, I’ve always said I would do it if it was for one of my children.
The point came in my life where it was time to face that fear head-on and conquer new experiences!
At the time, I was working for a small but dedicated and growing non-profit organization in my community. As part of the staff, I was to be included in the trip to the annual conference, held on the eastern side of the United States. Although my initial thoughts were filled with apprehension, I was also excited for this opportunity to grow in my job skills, to be part of the growth of this wonderful organization, and yes, I was also ready to conquer the fear that had kept me secluded in my little corner of the country.
As I prepared for this new experience, I did not allow myself to dwell on fear. I would be in the company of several co-workers, experienced flyers, and the excitement felt really good!
The most difficult moments of the entire adventure were walking onto that first airplane, and the first take-off!
As I walked down the corridor towards the plane and it hit me that I was really doing this, I just kept silently talking to myself, “Just breath…Just slow down the breathing, just breath…. Just walk and breath“.
Once seated, I was still having that conversation with myself, as my co-worker, who was seated next to me and knew this was a first for me, reassured me and engaged me in light conversation.
I might have appeared to have it all together, but inside, the dialog continued. I did not want to be one of those people who faint. Oh! I could have easily been THAT person!
“No, just breath. Slow, steady, intentional… just breath!” And I prayed a lot!
The surging power of the airplane during take-off was also cause for my apprehension and calculated breathing efforts, but once in the air, and as I peered out the window, the sight of the earth at that altitude replaced my anxiety with wonder and awe. Once the plane ascended above the clouds, I was certain we weren’t far from heaven itself, as I had never before seen such a thing of beauty as the brilliant sunbeams, shining across the great expanse of clouds, highlighted the texture and depth of each one, and they glowed brilliant white! It was so beautiful!
The next challenge involved my short legs moving as fast as they possibly could in order to keep up with my seasoned-flyer co-workers, as they nearly sprinted to the next gate, through these small cities they call terminals, so as not to miss the next flight!
I’ll never forget it, or all the wonderful experiences as I took in new sights, tastes, and met so many kind and interesting people! This one was worth the risk!