Summer has passed us by unbelievably fast. As I stand at the threshold of Fall, I am still waxing nostalgic for the days of little to no schedules, constant piles of wet towels from trips to the swimming pool and late nights arguing and giggling over board games as a family. Also, I find it hard to believe that it’s been months since I have posted a blog. I took a b
reak in order to become more focused on my book. My book efforts resulted in feedback from a publisher and an editor that I need to reconfigure it from a self-help guide in to a memoir. I walked away discouraged and in disbelief. As a matter of fact, I have allowed myself to be suspended in disbelief. A memoir! Surely, you are not talking to me. Then I allowed myself to become engulfed by my fear and decided to use the better part of this summer to work through this fear. Actually, this turned out to be a great idea. Life has an amazing way of catering to our desires and made sure to dial up an experience that would teach me about working through my fear. Rather than be suspended in disbelief, God wants us to be suspended in belief.
Summer vacation with my family became a great excuse for me to avoid writing. By choosing to not worry about anything, I was able to be present with my children. And in this presence with my children, I began to see the remedy to my disbelief and my fears. Children are the believers in anything. They have relatively few reference points for “impossible.” Children are the fearless trespassers of boundaries and limited beliefs. They are infused with the magical concoction of hope, faith, and being in the “now.” As an adult, we think and believe we know better. We don’t hesitate to squish their beliefs as not practical, not possible… so not, not, not going to happen. Not all grown ups are this way. There are adults in our history, who push through the disbelief and fear and have accomplished great things. There are people today and will be people tomorrow who move past their fear to make the impossible happen.
Disbelief is just one tool that fear utilizes to paralyze us from even trying to accomplish great things. Though fear is a useful tool in keeping us safe. It has an unbelievable ability to suck the life force from us. I felt this when I was given the guidance to write a memoir. I experienced this feeling when our family went zip lining this summer. I had signed my family up for an afternoon of zip lining. Though I felt some butterflies at the thoughts, I moved forward with the plans. We got off to a late start and there was traffic. We were late and could not keep our group waiting on us. However, the staff graciously offered us a slot to zip line at night. Yes, at night. I started to decline their offer when my son spoke up and said, “That would be so cool!” I took one look at his face and realized that he was right; regardless of my maternal fears and concerns, zip lining in the dark could be a cool experience.
Before I knew it, I found myself up in a makeshift tree house, being clipped in to a harness, and being encouraged to throw myself off the platform in the dark. My brain screamed, “Yikes!” As my turn approached, my heartbeat quickened. I walked up to have the guide clip me. And then, I jumped. It was there, suspended by a wire, that I was able to suspend my disbelief. Next platform, I chose to close my eyes and fall off backwards in to the forest. While my brain was screaming about how wrong it was to do this, my heart was fluttering in the air. I felt the rush of the wind, I could smell the surrounding Aspens, and I opened my eyes and saw stars in the sky. It was more than cool. It was unbelievable amazing!
As I returned from vacation and began to unpack my suitcase and my memories of this experience, I began to see the message that God had for me. God wants us to know that life is like a zip line. There is the hill or the ladder that we must begin to climb to get to the platform. This is relatively easy and in someway is like just showing up for life. Once you climb the hill and ladder, you get the vision of what is possible. Sadly, some people don’t even get this point. They are incapable of getting to a point where they can see beyond the hill or ladder. Up on the platform, we have to make the choice to jump and move forward. It is scary being up on the platform. It moves and creeks with the trees. It’s small which limits how one can maneuver around the deck especially with seven other people. In life, the platform represents our current situation. We can climb down, stay in the same place and just stare at the vision without realizing it, or we can jump and fly with open hearts to get to our next step. The line is the direction we choose to go. The harness that attaches us to this direction is God. The guides are the people we love, the angels that whisper to us, promising to watch over us as to help us move us forward on our journey.
Jumping is the faith. Faith is the ability to allow our hearts to go where our eyes can’t see. Trust is represented by my belief in that the clip that suspends me. This seemingly small clip is God. We can’t see or feel God but we must trust in God to move from fear to action. For me, jumping in the dark with my eyes closed was a sheer act of faith. Time and time again, we are given the same opportunity. Our hearts beckon us forward towards our purpose. Our brain, well meaning friends, our fear talks us out of going through with it. When we suspend disbelief, we make a space for faith. This is the spark that is needed to ignite us towards our wildest dreams.
I am up on the platform. I have the vision in sight. I close my eyes and fall backwards in to the dark. I open my eyes and I land. Goal accomplished. Maybe it was rough, jolting and bouncy getting there. I cannot see what I am flying past much less the platform I am flying towards. A branch scratches me. This is okay. I heard my child’s karate teacher tell them that we practice not to be perfect but we practice to make ourselves better. If we see the actual process as a means to make ourselves better, we can begin to appreciate how the mistakes that arise are an inevitable part of us learning and living through our journey. So my fears about the potential mistakes that may arise if I write a memoir are valid. My fears about what others might think are valid. The key is to not let those be reasons to keep me from trying. Granted, there will be challenges along the way that can seem incredibly discouraging and confusing. Think about the sun and how it is always shining. On a cloudy day, we might observe that the sun isn’t shining. The sun still shines behind the clouds. The sun does not try to shine harder to punch through the clouds. It shines persistently. Eventually, the clouds drift away to reveal the steady rays of light. However, if one chooses to stay inside because the sun is not shining, one is missing the most valuable lesson, which is how to weather the clouds.