With both small hands grasped around the rope, I felt the tug of my sled as I trudged through the deep snow. Every winter my brother and I would trek up that magnificent hill to experience the terrifying joy of sledding. There were two distinct chunks to this majestic hill : one side was small with a gradual slope and the other side was steep, riddled with ice ramps. I had never wandered the treacherous side of that beastly heap. I was always frightened to attempt that descent that looked all but fatal.
All I could do was watch in horror as my brother flew down that icy monster. My eyes squeezed shut when he reached one of those ramps…relief filled me as he drift gently down the hill, laughing with a face full of snow. I began to walk past the big part of the hill toward the smaller part so I could sled safely…but something stopped me. There was nothing physically in my way but a powerful force pulled me toward the thing that drove my fear. Craning my neck, I looked up to the top of that icy fiend. My eyes lingered as they gazed upon the mountain that looked so threateningly beautiful. Courage filled my little feet as they began to meander up the towering hill. Before I knew it, my sled and I had made it securely to the summit. Depositing myself carefully into the center of my sled I crept forward until the hill‘s base swiftly came into plain sight. The hill looked so much bigger from up here. My heart started to race and I quickly backed away from the edge of the terrifying monster. Defeat washed over me. Why was I so scared?
In that moment of defeat, I began to learn that fear robs individuals of the chance to experience life to its fullest. Fear steals away the opportunities to be joyful, to relish life, to be free.
I believe in living without fear.
I reapproached the edge of that hill with a new-found confidence. Now I was ready, I scooted forward until the pull of gravity engulfed any chances of turning back. Racing down the hill, adrenaline began to pulse through my veins. Jaw clenched and eyes closed, I held on with all the remaining strength left in me. There was a sudden jolt as my body hit a ramp. I was flying…never having felt anything so exhilarating in my life. Gliding through the air, I realized that there was never anything to fear. The only thing that I worried about now was how fast my feet could get me back up that hill so I could go again.
It wasn’t just the hills of my childhood but the hills of my life that often seemed too scary to climb. But after my experience that day I pledged to myself that I would not fear the obscene obstacles that life throws at me. Embracing the trying times and not letting fear stop me from achieving my goals has brought a new sense of worth to living life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.