The threshold of the immense Palos Heights Bridge loomed in front of me. My mother was already across the long walkway. She never realized I had frozen still after I’d taken four steps onto the steel structure. Now she was yelling at me to come to her and cross this thing by myself.
“Marie. Come on, we have to get to Dad’s car before it snows again. What are you waiting for?”
“But Mom, I’m too scared! I can’t move!” My cold, gloved hands began to tremble and beads of sweat popped out on my nose and brow. My legs felt as if the bones had been removed and my body swayed in the whistling breeze.
Fear rose from my belly and with tangled tendons wrapped its solid stony fingers around my small child heart. Frigid breath clouded in the air before me. I glanced up as if to see if God was aware of my demise, but all that my eyes fixated on was the iced blue super structure of the trestle over my head. All reason left me and my wee hands clutched the hand rail, the bridge’s only hope left for me.
The dark swirling and icy waters far below my feet seemed to pull me forward into their deep and deadly darkness so I squeezed my eyes shut to stop the dizziness that began to descend upon my small frame. Peace was mine for a brief fragrament of a moment. Then my Mom’s voice, piercing now, shot across the bridge to me.
“Marie, listen to me, look at me, are you listening to me? I mean it now, look at me!”
Why was she running?
Stinging tears spilled from my eyes now and began to freeze on my face and the scarf that covered my nose. My heart began to thump louder as I closed my eyes even tighter. I tried to hold my eyes open but they wouldn’t stay open anymore. The darkness was bizarrely safer.
“Mommy is coming back to get you but stand still and don’t move one inch,” Mom said.
I could hear something in her voice. Either I’m in trouble for doing this to her or she’s scared of the bridge, too. Funny, though, she sounded farther away than before.
I didn’t care anymore and a resignation that came with a strange fog settled upon me. I began to feel myself falling, falling and then floating. I hit the water and darkness swallowed me up. It was odd though, I could breath underwater. Stranger, yet, the fish in the water were pulling on my sleeves and trying to yank me up stream. Annoyed with the fish in the water, I began to swat at them and in a frenzied hand slapping motion, I began to scream at them and flail about, crying and screaming.
“I’m here, now. Marie, wake up. Stop. Stop. It’s alright, now. Ssshhh. Peace now, girl. I’m here. Stop hitting me, child.”
I opened one eye and there she was, Mom. I had fainted on the threshold of the bridge and was slapping at Mom when she tried to shake me awake.
“Oh, honey, I didn’t know you were afraid of heights. I’m sorry. One minute you were beside me and the next you were left behind. Forgive me?”
“Yes, I’m so glad you’re my Mom.” Mom enveloped me in her arms until my trembling stopped.
She then took my right hand in hers as she assisted me across the deck floorings of the Palos Heights Bridge to the other side and we continued our day.
Today, whenever I am on a threshold of fear and even the bridge to the other side seems dangerous and the water below beckons me to give up in a dead faint, I remember Mom. She, like God runs to my side and awakes me from fear’s death grip around my heart and helps me to proceed. Sometimes I don’t want to wake up from fear but God lovingly and peacefully embraces me and assists me to the opposite threshold of peace and promise.
For I Am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I Am with you. Isaiah 41:13 NIV
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.