Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TOWER (01/16/20)
TITLE: The Battle of the Mind
By Robyn Harbour
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Tom, her husband had already started climbing the internal staircase, ‘Come on Gail, don’t let it beat you this time.’ He was always full of encouragement, but he just didn’t get it.
‘This time I will make it,’ she said out loud. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Gingerly she walked up the first few steps. ‘so far, so good’ she thought, ‘I just need to control my mind. I have never been able to get beyond the first landing no matter how much I try to control my fear.’
The tower was as tall as a three-story building, gigantic for someone with her irrational fear of heights. Gail had looked it up on Google once and found a name for her problem. Acrophobia; an extreme fear or phobia of heights, especially when one is not particularly high up. She also suffered from Claustrophobia; a fear of confined spaces. This tower was a double challenge.
Reaching the first landing she sighed with relief. But as she put her foot on the first step of the next flight of steps ‘it’ started. First the dizziness in the head, her legs started to feel like jelly and there was a knot in the pit of her stomach.
‘I can do all things!’ she said again trying to convince herself that she was OK. ‘I know that the bones in my legs are strong and not jelly, I can do this!’
She struggled up the stairs holding onto the metal balustrade to steady herself. The dizziness persisted, she was now sweating profusely and her heart was beating erratically.
The second landing was reached, it took a supreme effort on Gail's part, but she found a real sense of achievement at getting this far.
Behind her, an elderly man was slowly gaining on her. He could see she was struggling and sensed her fear. ‘Its OK lass, you are doing well, just keep one foot in front of the other and you will get there.’
‘I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me,’ Gail muttered quietly.
‘Yes you can,’ the old man responded, ‘Come on lass, don’t let this beat you.’
Her big mistake when she reached the third landing was to look down to see how far she had come, that is when vertigo took over. Her head spun, she felt physically sick. She felt trapped. She couldn't go up and was too scared to go down.
‘Come on lass, I am right behind you, I won’t let you fall. Just one step at a time and you will make it.’
Looking down Tom was surprised to see Gail so close to the top. He shouted encouragement from the top landing. ‘You’ve never been this far up before, I dare you to get to the top,’ he challenged.
‘I can do all things, I can do all things,’ Gail repeated with each step, she tried not to look up or down and her elderly companion kept talking her through each step.
At last, she reached the top. The view of the farmland and the ocean beyond was spectacular, she looked out rather than down, she still felt dizzy and had no idea how she would make it back down.
Tom was so proud of her for beating her fear, he had no idea of the effort Gail had made to get the top. He found it hard to understand the deep fear she had of heights and had always told her that it was ‘all in her head’, she knew that, but it didn’t help.
The way down was easier, Tom went first so she wouldn’t fall. The old man lingered longer up the top, he had done his good deed for today.
At the bottom, Gail let out a huge sigh of relief. She had done something she had never done before and the view was worth it. Maybe next time they came to a lookouttower she would try again. 'Thank you God!'
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