Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Abyss

Feeling calmer, I crawl out of the crevice and move towards the abyss.

I stop at the edge of the plank and look towards the other side. The meadow is the size of an urban back yard with an irregular border of trees enclosing it. Wild blueberry bushes can be seen even from across the chasm and my steady diet of bread and water in the crevice pales in comparison to the imagined taste of these plump blue orbs.

I look back, past my recent abode in the crevice, and see the heavy oak door and beyond it, the table. But there is room for nothing else here, so I steady myself mentally and physically and take the first step onto the plank.

After I’ve taken about three steps, I hear a voice say, “You know, you’re never going to be able to do this. You’ve never been good at balancing. You’re going to fall. And think about how much that is going to hurt.”

I recognize this voice. I've spent days, weeks, months trying to quiet my inner saboteur, but that doesn’t make it any easier to not listen. Her voice is so quick to target my weaknesses in the most sensitive spot. I focus my eyes a few steps ahead of me and try to clear my mind. The plank wobbles slightly and fear creeps under my skin, throwing tentacles outward with chilling quickness. Afraid to stop, afraid to turn back, I take another hesitant step and risk a look at the other side.

Standing there, I see the woman who prepared the table for me. The one who waited on the other side of fear. In a voice so different from the one in my head, she says, “You can do this. You’re almost halfway here. And if you can leave behind the comforts of home, the busy-ness of life, what you think you know and even your fears, you can walk a few more steps to get here. Think of what you've already done to remember what you can do.”

For some reason, the confidence in her voice seems stronger than the desperation of the voice inside my head. While my inner voice continues to insist I will fail, a hint of hysteria creeps in as the voice realizes I do not believe what it is saying. In fact, the inner saboteur doesn’t believe her own words. Like me, she’s heard the complete certainty in the woman’s voice and knows the outcome of the halting steps I have already taken.

And then, the board stills and I advance confidently to the other side, hardly noticing the narrow width my feet traverse.

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