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CLIMBING WATERFALLS

Heidi Kreitlein

September 18, 2012

I was born with two left feet.  Though not literally, I have always felt awkward and clumsy. This has kept me from trying lots of things, things I would love to do but have always told myself that I couldn’t.

So I’m usually the one on the sidelines, watching others experience life.

My family recently spent the day in Jamaica. My husband booked an excursion to an attraction called Dunn’s River Falls. This is a breathtaking 600 foot waterfall that people take tours to climb. Tourists start at the beach and hold hands to form a human chain and climb the waterfall to the top.

I didn't want to do it!

Every time my husband talked about Dunn's River, I felt sick to my stomach. I didn't want to talk about it.  I didn't want to think about it.  I don't like adventure and I am not coordinated. But I tried my very best to push the thoughts out of my head as the day approached.

The moment we arrived, fear gripped my soul.

Our family was placed in a tour group. I wanted to lag behind and be forgotten. Our tour guide looked at me and put me at the front of the line so that he would be holding my hand and Scott, my husband, would be holding the other. I wanted to vomit. Everyone in the group would see me for what I am: an out of shape, uncoordinated, pale fool. I would be the laughing stock of this tour group.

A calm feeling suddenly washed over me. I became uncharacteristically excited and almost thrilled for the trek up the falls. I realized that I had the safest spot on the tour!  I was holding the hand of the man who knew the falls better than anyone. I would be able to follow his footsteps.

I became emotional as I realized the how similar it was to my everyday, seemingly less adventurous life.  I hold my Savior’s hand, assured he knows the way. He leads me safely through my earthly journey.

The trail up the falls was terrifying and wonderful at the same time. There were moments when the guide let go of my hand and told me the path to take. There was a time he sent me down a rock slide and I had to trust that I would enjoy it. There was even a moment where Scott and I had to hold hands and take a "leap of faith" as we fell backwards into the water. I wanted to skip this part of the tour, but I realized I was traveling a path that he knew was safe.

We climbed and reached the biggest rocks of our journey. We witnessed people playing around in areas that weren’t safe, even though the guides had warned them to stay on the path or they would get hurt.

Reaching the top of the waterfall was exhilarating!  It felt amazing to accomplish something that had terrified me! I felt peace when I looked back to see my husband and children safely finish the climb.

Never have I ever felt so free to enjoy myself, because I felt safe. And never have I felt such a strong parallel to our journey on Earth. I could feel the spirit teaching me eternal truths. If I am holding Christ's hand, I can succeed in this life. 

I am grateful for this teaching moment. I am especially grateful that my Savior and holds my hands and guides me on my journey. I know if I follow in his footsteps he can teach me and my family the safest way to return to our heavenly home.