This I Believe

Emma - Elgin, Illinois
Entered on October 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage

I never thought that twelve feet above the ground was all that high. It’s not a height that would kill me if I fell or anything; high, but not too high. That is until I found myself standing on a small platform twelve feet above the hard ground attached to a very thin-looking cable. Then, twelve feet began to sound like a few too many.

From the ground, doing a “mid-level” ropes course at a summer camp sounded like a great idea: athletically challenging while still being fun. Twelve feet up? No problem! However, I didn’t realize quite how far twelve feet up would seem once I actually climbed up there. I admit it: I was shaking in my safety harness, especially after I saw the first obstacle: two small platforms, with a gap in between. It couldn’t have been more than three feet across, but from where I was standing that little gap was the size of the Grand Canyon. I was supposed to jump it, trusting that little cable to catch me if I fell, but that didn’t help much.

I took a deep breath and tried to convince myself that there was no danger. It didn’t work. I knew what I really wanted to do was beat a hasty retreat back to the nice, safe ground, but I just couldn’t do it, not in front of all the other campers.

Standing there, I made the decision to jump the gap. Without giving myself the chance to second-guess myself, I leapt across thinking I was surely going to fall, and wound up on the other platform. That leap gave me the courage to finish the whole course and lent me a real sense of accomplishment for the rest of the day.

Since that day, I’ve tried to make more leaps of faith, to push myself and to try new things that I’m not too sure about. In life, it’s pretty hard to move outside of my comfort zone and try new things. It’s scary, disorienting and uncomfortable-not something most people enjoy doing. But I believe in the leap of faith. Without it, I might never have done a ropes course, might never have done things like go to football games despite not knowing anything about the game or help start the National History Club chapter at school, might never have met new people or even ventured outside my little circle of friends. Yeah, the leap isn’t always fun. In fact, most of the time it’s downright terrifying. But, it’s better than sitting on the ground, watching everyone else.