This I Believe

Joshua - Orem, Utah
Entered on May 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage, fear
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I believe in conquering my fears. Everyone has hurdles that they must leap over in their lives; the one I must conquer is my fear of heights.

Where some people have trouble swimming in deep water, and still others can’t stand bugs, I would be placed with those who are terrified of heights. For example, whenever I get above 20 feet off the ground (even 10 feet for that matter), I get nervous. I even have trouble climbing on top of my roof every spring to take down the Christmas lights.

And yet I never back down. I believe that the ability to face your fears is the very embodiment of what we call courage. It’s not something that just appears to someone if they’re a muscle-man, and it doesn’t come pre-packaged with any M-16. It’s acquired by facing the harsh trials in our lives and weathering them out. I had one such experience, years ago, and it took every inch of gritty determination I had to live through it.

When I was twelve years old, my friends and I went hiking with our dads up the tallest mountain in Utah: King’s Peak. All of the kids were having a blast, including me. And then I saw the towering summit of King’s Peak looming far above me. I shuddered at the thought of climbing that monster, but my friends, urging me on, won the argument and I agreed to climb the mountain.

I was okay for a little while, and was even starting to enjoy myself; but then I made the mistake of looking down at the vast expanse below us.

And that’s when I broke down, latched onto the nearest rock, and cried.

My friends and some of their parents tried to help me get back on my feet, but I was beyond all logical thought. So one father volunteered to help me travel down the mountain safely, and I found myself sitting in the tents at camp waiting for my friends to return.

As I look back at this experience, years later, I can honestly say that I feel no shame in having run from my fears. In fact, I feel that my experience taught me three important lessons: first, that I probably wasn’t ready for such a huge confrontation; second, that I still have a long journey ahead of me on the path to courage; and third, that even the bravest people can be overwhelmed by their fears. But I will keep on fighting, and I will never back down, because I’ve already weathered the worst of the storm; whatever comes after this will be small in comparison, and I’ll be ready for it. I can conquer my fears: this I believe.