Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: OVERSEAS VACATION (08/13/15)
- TITLE: The Spirit of Fear
By Cindy Duncan
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I was afraid of the ocean. In technical terms, I suffered from thalassophobia. I was scared of the waves, the constant movement of the water, the creatures living in it, and especially the thought of flying over it. I worried about the plane going down, and being stranded out in the middle of the raging sea for weeks before finally succumbing to a horrible death by drowning or dehydration. So when my husband called with the “good news,” I was not exactly enthusiastic.
“Looks like you’re married to the salesman of the year, and your wonderful, successful, and sexy husband just won us a vacation to Jamaica!” he said, and when I didn’t respond immediately, “Hun, are you there? Did I lose you?”
“No, I’m here. I heard what you said,” I managed to reply, while mentally trying to recall high school geography enough to remember exactly where Jamaica was. I quickly concluded that there was no road to Jamaica. We would have to fly there, and the plane would have to travel over the ocean.
“Well, start packing, then, because we’re leaving in two weeks,” he replied. Since he was not really aware of my thalassophobia, he hung up the phone fully expecting me to be excited. I was terrified.
Those two weeks passed by like two days, and before I knew it we were in the plane, ascending into the cloudless sky. As the flight attendant was demonstrating the life vests, I could see myself bobbing in the ocean with sharks swimming around me. I began sweating and having heart palpitations. And I prayed.
Our plane landed safely in Montego Bay, Jamaica, but our final destination was Negril, Jamaica, an hour and a half bus ride away. It was on that bus ride that I developed bustrophia. Yes, it’s a real thing.
The ride to Negril was long and full of terror. With no traffic lights, the drivers honked their horns when approaching an intersection. I’m not sure how this allowed them to avoid collisions, but in our case at least, it seemed to have worked.
There were also goats, cows, and other miscellaneous animals crossing the road at random times, not unlike the video game “Frogger.” There was no air conditioning, and the combination of the oppressing heat and the motion sickness was almost unbearable. Just when I was about to scream “Stop, let me off this nightmare!” we arrived at our resort.
Of course, the first place my husband wanted to go after checking into our room was the beach. It was very different from any beach I’d been to back in the States. A drug dealer tried to sell us some goods, and a homeless man asked us to bring him a plate of chicken from the buffet at our all-inclusive resort. There was a woman walking around topless, who really shouldn’t have been, and a man in a thong, which is never a good idea. These things were a bit scary, but paled in comparison to getting into the ocean, a task I was not looking forward to.
As we approached the water, I was mesmerized by the color of it. It was blue and clear at the same time. We could see everything in it, from the biggest shells to the tiniest fish. I was able to muster up the courage to get ankle deep in it, and still maintain a normal heartbeat. It was a start.
We visited the cliffs of Negril the next day, and I watched crazy people jump off of them into the ocean. My husband was one of the crazies. As I watched his body freefalling towards the water, I struggled to breathe.
“Weren’t you terrified?” I asked him when he finally returned to me.
“I was a little nervous at first,” he admitted, still grinning from the high of jumping. “But then I reminded myself that God didn’t give me the spirit of fear. He gave me the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” I immediately recognized his paraphrase of 2 Timothy 1:7, which I had memorized, but obviously, had not put into practice.
When he asked me what I wanted to do next, I smiled, and with a confidence I hadn’t possessed since we left home, replied, “Let’s go swimming.”
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