It may not look like much in this picture, but this is me facing my fear.
You may have noticed that I write blogs after I've spent time painting. I'm at it again. This time, the exterior of my Estes Park home is getting a facelift.
Painting gives me plenty of processing time. But painting is often contingent upon climbing a ladder, and I HATE ladders. I swallow my fear and go about halfway to the top, hang on with my left hand, and dab the paintbrush with my right hand.
Sometimes when we're pushed into it, we face our fears and come out a better person on the other side. I'm celebrating today because I faced my fear (and didn't kill myself in the process).
Painting needed to occur along the second story of the house. There's no one here to do it but me. Standing on the second to the top step of the ladder, I can reach the roof above the front porch. Standing on the very top of the ladder, I can get my knee up on the roof. Then what? There's nothing to hold onto!
With a mighty boost of my left leg, I propelled myself onto the roof. Asphalt shingles are NOT the rough, sticky surface that they appear to be. Slip, slide. I flipped over onto my back and dug in my heels. It wasn't pretty, but I was able to crab-walk up the roof until I reached the spot where I needed to start painting.
Only before I could paint, I needed to pound some nails into the siding and scrape off the peeling paint.
It was about this time that I realized everything I have been afraid of for the last few months -- moving, leaving my family, starting a new job, selling a house and building a new one -- none of that generates true fear.
Fear makes your chest clench, your heart race, and the backs of your hands tingle. Fear is real. Everything else is just stress.
I pounded nails, scraped paint, and painted, slowly inching my way back down toward the edge of the roof. It's not my best paint job; there may be a few paint splatters on the shingles. (I dare you to climb up there and look!)
Feeling proud of myself for my newfound insight into the world, not to mention the paint job, I reached the edge of the roof. It was time to get down.
I didn't think anything would be worse than climbing up the roof. Silly me! Getting down was FAR worse.
I threw the hammer down onto the grass. I threw my shoes down onto the grass. (I figured my toes would give me a better grip.) I tried going down facing out, but quickly realized that was a disaster waiting to happen. I flipped over onto my belly and slid, ever so slowly, until the toes of my left foot kissed the top of the ladder. Okay, swear words were involved, but I did it!
And I never want to do it again.
But truly, all the worries that have generated insomnia for the last few months are now relegated to the "piece of cake" category.
I've got this. I can climb on a roof and paint AND get down again. I can do anything!