I went on a wonderful hiking trip this weekend with Tom and some friends out to Crabtree Falls, VA to get away from the stress of a campus approaching finals week. All of us set out with schoolwork on our minds and hoping the trip would be worth the two hour drive.
After a scenic drive through the fall trees of Virginia, we made it to Crabtree Falls. While the air was chilly and brisk, the mountains of George Washington National Park surrounded us with amazing beauty. The hike started out smoothly enough, and we were almost immediately greeted with a massive waterfall. Half of the falls were iced over, but there was still enough unfrozen water spewing down the rocks for us to enjoy the atmosphere.
Some stairs and a fair amount of switchbacking later, we came across a very icy patch in the trail, with a sheer drop beside it. My roommate Lauren made it across with no problem, but Tom’s non-grip soccer trainers were not up for the slick ice, and he slipped. With my overly imaginative mind, and the knowledge that over 30 people had died on this trail from slipping on algae or ice, I immediately wanted to turn back. I am cautious by nature and the thought of Tom trying to cross the ice again, and me following him, was just too much. I attempted to put a foot on the icy patch, but my leg wouldn’t stop shaking at the thought of a fatal fall. Despite my desire to continue, and my fear of being “that person” who rains on everyone’s parade, the motherly voice of caution in the back of my head won out.
Discouraged, me and Tom took our time to traipse back to the car at a leisurely pace. I kept kicking myself for not just taking the risk, and complaining at (what I perceived as) me just being a baby. I could tell that Tom was not happy about me continuously bad-talking my decision, but I just couldn’t help it.
There was a period of my life where I got fed up with being so cautious and shy, and instead decided to throw myself into things without letting myself think about the risk. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this course of action, but somehow it ended up ok in the long run. From a spontaneous backpacking trip to a semester studying in Italy, I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to grow and to learn new things. These were great experiences, but they were also scary for me. Being out of your comfort zone results in exactly what it sounds like: being uncomfortable.
I wouldn’t necessarily call avoiding an icy patch on a trail that could lead to my death the wimpy way out. But with my unknown future looming before me like a monstrous icy waterfall, I can’t help but feel afraid to confront it. I can make plans upon plans, but nothing I do will keep those plans in place.
Trusting God with whatever life throws at me, be it an icy patch, a broken relationship, or a period of uncertainty, will always be my fallback.