"Lift your feet and let me do the rest." His melodic Spanish accent, sent a shiver down my spine. Not the lilt of the words or his firm grip on my waist. The idea that if I lifted my feet off the 6 " wooden platform I stood on, this strangers hands and a thin rope were all that separated me from a plummet to the jungle floor.
With my heart jack hammering through my rib cage I blocked the images from my mind.
While Caesar described the tall trees, the zip line ropes strung between them and the wooden platforms we'd be landing on. I focused on flying.
The day before, Erik and I went parasailing in Mazatlan, Mexico. I rode tandem with someone ant the sensation of flying above the land and sea was still powerful in my mind. The height, the distance and the 60 foot drop evaporated into the darkness of my blindness. Only the fun remained alive in my soul.
Zip lining in Puerto Vallerta was exhausting, thrilling and rewarding. This time last year my body wouldn't have allowed me the energy or ability to do such a thing. For an old lady with a missing knee cap, two transplanted organs and no eyesight. It was an adventure I'll never forget. When we finished the course, a number of the other participants told me how brave and strong they thought I was for doing the course. While I appreciated their encouragement and kind words, a part of me wondered, why?
A 77 year old woman who was terrified of heights went as well. A little girl of about 7, let go of her mommy's hand, dangled from this rope and zipped into the trees. Her mother, let go and cheered when she landed on the other side. One lady zipped down the line, got caught and ended up dangling at the mid-point. Someone had to traverse the line to get her down.
Heights, concern for a child, being stuck on the line...these are all real, terrifying experiences, that with your eyes become monsters. I didn't have anything to be afraid of. True courage isn't "blindly" stepping into the unknown with a little pixie dust on your palms and the idea that you won't fall.
Real faith and trust came from the incredible people around me.
My husband, who watched me walk around the trunk of a tree on a six inch splintering platform with a sheer drop if I stumbled at all.
The 'monkeys' who taught us how to use the equipment and hoped my 6' 3" husband wouldn't pound their little 5' 4" inch frames into kindling if I fell.
The mother who let her child go, even though all the things that might go wrong plagued her while she did it.
The woman who lived a full life, raised kids and grand-kids, takes care of her husband with Alzheimer's and still chooses to face her fear of heights.
Courage isn't a quality you're born with. It's a muscle you grow. Not to stand in oblivion and ignore all the dangers around you, but hold tight to Faith. Believe in God, who is in control of everything. Trust, that whatever comes, you can handle it.
Plus...A little 'blind' Pixie Dust never Hurts.