We spent an amazing day at a state park on the Plateau of Tennessee. It was a beautiful autumn day, with bright trees and cool temperatures. Our explorations led us to a gorge with a swinging bridge. The drought of the summer dried up most of the waterfall and the jagged rocks were visible. My husband and sons crossed without hesitation, their movements causing the bridge to sway and vibrate. I wavered as I tried to overcome my fear of heights. On the other side, my family found rocks to perch upon as they waited for me to find my courage to cross; they know me well.
I took a step on the bridge, and it began to sway under my movements. I found the sensation unpleasant and I wanted to retreat but did not want to be a coward. To prove to my family I was brave, I stopped in the center of the bridge, pretending to take in the beauty of the surroundings. The bridge creaked as it swayed and the cable rail did little to offer me security. I forced myself to stay still, although every instinct wanted me to choose a side and move in that direction as quickly as possible. I realize that once again I could make this into a metaphor of my life – and probably everyone’s life, at one time or another – the transition from being one thing for so long and not knowing what to become. The place between the two is a terrifying place to be.
I am a coward, most of the time – I turn around and run back to what I know. Which way will I go this time? Will I be a coward? Maybe if I stay here for a moment, become comfortable on the swaying of the uncertainty, I might find the courage to continue to the unknown.
I am uncomfortable here – but the view is spectacular. Without the restrictions of the banks, I feel like I am floating above it all. Free from what I was and what I need to be. Right now it is a good place to be – until I decide. Will it be the security of what I know or will it be the thrill of becoming someone new? Fear wins most of the time, but my soul longs for something new.
I cross the bridge to join my family to continue our hike. I still stand in the middle of my metaphorical bridge – deciding if I will be coward or if I will be brave.