In the fourth grade, my class visited Rock City, an attraction that sits on top of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In order to go from one side of the nature trail there to the other side where our bus was parked, you had two choices: the swing-along bridge or hike the long way around. I was the only student who would not take the bridge, so my teacher and I had to trek the long way around, so we missed seeing the awesome views afforded to everyone that took the bridge.
As an adult, I continued to bypass bridges, particularly moving ones, and chose to hike the long way around, feeling safer on flat ground. Most recently, it was at a place called Fall Creek Falls State Park, and Douglas wanted to walk across the moving bridge to see the waterfalls on the other side. As I watched the bridge sway from side to side with people on it, I chickened out. There was no other good way to see the falls, so we missed out on witnessing the beauty of the waters cascading down the side of the mountain. Driving around the mountain in the car just was not the same, and it took so much longer.
All the way home I was angry at myself, because I had watched people take their kids on it, and those little ones had no fear whatsoever, so I knew it was safe. I had resolved never to let my fears prevent me seeing the beauty around me, but I was doing so again. So, I needed something to change in how I approached life, and that meant that I had to learn to take the bridge. This meant that I had to have a child-like faith in God to keep me safe, and remember that when I have been in unsafe situations, I have felt in my spirit that I should not go somewhere or do something planned.
So, in Portugal this spring, we had the opportunity to hike around the cliffs and see the tremendous beauty of beaches that were inaccessible any other way. I did not want Douglas to miss the views, so I walked along the cliffs with him. When we came to a place with a bridge to cross, I stepped forward and walked across the bridge, even looking down once or twice to see the views. It did not swing, admittedly, but it was a step up for me, for it taught me a valuable lesson.
Fear causes us to hike the long way around, and we miss out on such much beauty and awesome views that are needed by our souls. Moreover, walking the long way around takes twice as long as just taking the bridge across. It is the same in our lives, for if we have goals in our lives, sometimes we take the long way around, adding safeguards in case of failure, because it seems safer, but it takes us so much longer to reach our goals.
Yet, the bridge across in the form of taking some risks, while sometimes shaky, would help us achieve our goals faster and we can be on our way to the next dream or goal, never missing out on what’s important and necessary for our emotional and spiritual health. So take the bridge, and don’t worry about falling, for countless people have walked on that bridge day after day before you and were safe. Don’t let your fears keep you from experiencing a sense of accomplishment when you arrive at the other side or the awesome views below and around you.
Written for Sunday Writing Prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: One Place to Another.