On Saturday, I experienced something I have never experienced before. A couple of weeks ago, I heard that a friend from our church who is a part of a ski club, needed someone to climb to the top of a pyramid. I honestly had no clue what that meant, but I called her to ask for more details. Basically the criteria was: they had to be under 100 pounds, not afraid of heights, kind of a risk-taker, and able to climb. Since Jack enjoys jumping off great heights and reminds me of a cross between a cheetah and a jack-rabbit, I thought it was the perfect fit and volunteered him for the task. We told him about it the night he got home from soccer camp. He practiced the next day by doing a dry run, with no water, and learned how to climb.
The following week there was rain off and on, but he managed to practice once in the water before the actual performance day. Stacy is an incredible teacher, and instilled a lot of confidence in Jack, who had shown a bit of uncertainty to us the day before. On Saturday, a few things happened which made it so he never was able to climb during practice that morning. The pyramid was the last act of the day. We sat on the side of the river, praying the rain would hold off and for a small window of sunshine and calm so they could do the show. God answered affirmatively. When it got to be his turn, my stomach started doing all sorts of flips. There was no doubt in my mind that he could do it. Yet, there was an undeniable trepidation at the thought of what he was about to do!
The team took off, Jack on the shoulders of the middle man.
The boat cruised down the river, way beyond where we could see them. As it turned and came back into view, we saw the two girls had already climbed onto the three guys’ shoulders. I was filming and nervously talking to Matthew at the same time. When I saw this little figure, climbing up these bodies, I lost it. It was almost like he was created to do it. Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. Right as they passed where we were yelling and screaming from the bank of the river, he confidently made it to the top of the girls’ shoulders, stood tall, turned his head to the crowd and smiled. I could NOT stop screaming. I didn’t even KNOW I was screaming until I watched the video later. One-hundred or more times. The epitome of freedom right there. Literally staring fear in the face. Because I’m quite sure fear lives at the top of a swiftly moving human pyramid on water. He didn’t fall down. He climbed down. They finished the run, and we learned later, it had been 15 years since they had last done a 3-tiered pyramid.
We all face fear. It’s what you DO with fear that’s the key. Fear is not from God, so if you know you’re supposed to do something and don’t because you’re afraid… then fear won. Fear cripples and freezes us. Fear clouds our thinking. Not letting fear win, sets us free! Free to change, free to grow, free to step out of our comfort zones.
We don’t all have to stand fifteen feet in the air, balanced on someone’s shoulders who is water-skiing, to prove fear no longer has a hold of us. But you might have to quit your job, or move to another country, or step into that gym, or birth a baby, or make that phone call, or make some dramatic changes in your life. You might have to ask for help, or admit you’re wrong, or stare blankly at an unknown future. And you know what? You will most likely still be afraid! But if fear is no longer keeping you from acting, moving, changing or growing, then you will become stronger and reach higher. Even higher than fifteen feet.
By the way, if you want to hear this mama’s reaction to seeing her little boy flying down a river on top of everyone’s shoulders, check out the live video on my facebook page:
If you want to see the filmed version of the entire act, from the perspective of the boat, here it is: