When the above picture was taken, at a camp I attended for several years, I had never been on a zip line before. To be honest before this picture was taken, I don’t think I had been up very high before. I know one thing for sure, before I began attending Camp Easter Seal, I had never been anywhere without at least one person I already knew. So the idea of going to camp at the age of 10, was more than a little scary. I remember crying a lot before I even left my house. My poor mama told me, like I imagine any mother would, “you don’t have to go if you don’t want to”. As I sat there in my room I think my anxiety was growing by the minute. Okay, I may be exaggerating a little, but when you are little everything feels major, right?
Then my parents and I decided that I would least give it a try. So, we got my bags and headed to camp. The camp was only 5-10 minutes from my house, but that first summer it felt like it took forever to get there. To make matters worse, once we got there, I had to go through the process of checking in. I don’t remember when I started crying again, I just remember sitting in the dining hall crying during dinner. You see, there weren’t many things to do that first evening, so I had plenty of time to think about how much I already missed my family, and how frightened I was.
Before you start thinking my family was mean, and, I cried every day, don’t. My family wasn’t then, nor are they mean now. I think they were hoping that once I got there, I’d get so involved that I’d forget I was homesick. Well guess what happened? During that first full day of activities, I started to let go of my fear, and enjoy myself. Does that mean I wasn’t still a little afraid? No way, this was all still very new to me. And anything new, while it can be exciting simply because it is new, can be a little scary too.
I thought I was scared that first day or so, little did I know. It must have been the second or third day, when I first introduced to what would become my favorite camp activity, the zip line. It was 27 feet up in the air, which may not be very high for some people. Trust me when I say for me it was. I doubt I have ever been higher than I could swing on swing set, before this experience. But there I was, looking up into a tree, with harnesses strapped all over me. Honestly, I almost backed out a couple of times. When I was sitting up on the platform up in the tree, I was given options. I could either face my fear and ride the zip line down to the bottom, or someone would just help me repel back down to the ground. I have to tell you, when I first came off of that tree platform, I scared stiff. The further and faster I went on that zip line, the more I began to enjoy myself.
I often wonder what would have happened, if I hadn’t faced my fear, and taken that leap of faith?
- Would I still be as afraid of heights as I was before I rode the zip line for the first time?
- I think I might have been. I may not have even ridden in a friend’s small plane, which is the only plane I’ve ridden in so far. If I was still as afraid of heights as I used to be, I doubt I would have ridden in a plane of any size yet.