I’ve heard a million times that life will bring you to a crossroads. I always assumed I could turn right or left, that I would have a choice. Now I know life isn’t always like that. Sometimes your path in life ends with a cliff. That’s what mine was. I stood on the precipice looking down.
“It’s an awful long drop,” I said.
“You’re not going to drop. You’re going to fly.” I could hear the smile in his voice. He reached down and lifted up my arms. “Go ahead.” His hands slipped from me as he took a step backwards.
I looked down again. It was dark, cold, and unknown. Even the horizon seemed like an endless sea of blue, no place to land, nowhere to rest. It shouldn’t have frightened me. It should have bewitched me with its beauty. So why was my stomach turning?
“What if I can’t find a place to land?”
“Of course you will,” he replied gently. “Everyone who’s gone before you has.”
“But that was them. This is me. What if…”
I would try to list the endless circle of “what if’s” that poured from my fumbling lips, but I barely remember them myself now. I just remember the panic. What started with a fluttery sensation in my stomach, mutated into a violent seizure of fear. I dropped to the ground, digging my fingers into the solid earth. My throat grew raw from my terrified screams. I gasped and choked on my tears.
His hands took hold of my trembling body. He pulled me up. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I was. I felt weak, needy, and helpless. I looked up into his kind eyes. They smiled at me.
“I want to do it,” I murmured. “But I can’t.”
He squeezed my hand. “You will. But not right now. Sit back. We’ll talk.”
I wiped my leaking eyes on my sleeve before I awkwardly acquiesced. It was hard to look at him at first while he talked, but his gentle voice broke through to me. He told me about his own hardships. He told me about how he learned to fly. I told him all about me. I told him all my deepest fears. He listened. Laughed. Cried.
I don’t know how long we sat there. I can’t put a finger on the moment it happened. The realization came as a gentle, slow awakening in my heart. The truth was that I was born with wings. I was created to fly.
I ran out of words. He didn’t speak either. We listened to the wind blow down off the cliff into the unknown. I fingered the familiar cool green grass for the last time.
“You’re ready aren’t you?” he said softly.
I looked up at him. His gentle eyes were smiling again.
“I think I am,” I said.
We stood together. I turned to face the cliff. It wasn’t less scary, just less daunting. I felt him fade away. I knew if I turned he would no longer be there. But the whisper of his kind wisdom was a part of me now. It gave me the courage I lacked.
I spread my wings. Time to fly.
© Rachel Svendsen 2014