I learned some things while visiting the Cliffs of Moher. The first is I am officially not going to be a tightrope walker. Ever. So I have crossed that off the ongoing list in my head of potentially awesome careers. And the second is this: little tikes know their stuff.
You see, these Cliffs of Moher reach up 700 feet out of the water and we hopped a fence marked Extreme Danger: Do Not Enter (just beyond the placard in remembrance of all who have lost their lives at the Cliffs of Moher) to walk along the edge of them. Everyone else was doing it and if everyone else walked along a beautiful and famous cliff edge, yes, I would do it too. And I did.
But thank goodness for my sweet nearly three-year-old niece, Marie, who taught me what to do in scary situations like meeting new people or walking along the edge of a cliff: stiffen your neck so you can’t see side to side, cast your gaze down and press forward. I borrowed this technique several times and by golly, it works.
Even I, with my medium hot fear of heights, made it all the way from the tourist end of things out to the farthest watchtower and back – a trek we leisurely made in about 3 hours (with time for a snack break, of course).
It’s true I can be a bit of a drama queen, but I happen to live with the inconvenient reality that when I get nervous I get dizzy. Like when I worked at my brother-in-law’s family auction business typing in what each batch of produce sold for as quickly as I could while a line formed of buyers ready to pay for their goods and get on with their day. I wanted to work quickly but accurately and I’d inevitably end up fighting dizziness as I stood by the computer.
Or have you ever towered over a shrinking elderly lady where you have to lean down over her to talk after church? Dizzy. Every time I talk to Becky Bixler I’m bracing myself so I don’t lose balance and crash down right on top of her. Dizziness is not a symptom I wanted emerging on a cliff’s edge.
My rule of thumb was to size up if I could trip and face plant toward the cliff’s edge and still be alive. If so, I was relatively confident. But if there wasn’t space for my 5’6” body to sprawl without plummeting then it was time to channel adorable little Marie.
My how the view was worth it. Stunning. Breathtaking. A highlight of our trip so far.
That’s just life, isn’t it? Sometimes all you can muster is to put on those imaginary blinders, stiffen your neck and keep moving forward as best you can. When it’s safe to plug back into the world you might look up to find some amazing views. And glancing over your shoulder (after stabilizing your footing) to see how far you’ve traveled is fuel for the soul and edges you on forward one step at a time.