The Path Less Travelled

The last two weeks I spent exploring the midwest with my other half, Paul. We flew up to visit my home town, Montville Ohio, for a wedding and then drove to Milwaukee, WI to visit Paul’s brother. Finishing the trip, we worked our way down to Chicago IL for his cousin’s wedding. What a trip! 10 days filled with love, excitement, joy, and relaxation! While I was in Ohio, I had the privilege of photographing Tyler’s senior pictures. One of the places we took photos at was Paine Falls. When we arrived, there wasn’t a clear path to walk to the falls, but only a long distance view from a ‘look out’ point mostly covered by trees. I knew we needed to get closer to get good shots, but doing so would require a bit of hiking, and to get to the top, a bit of rock climbing. Rock climbing with camera gear is not the safest decision, but I will say this, sometimes you have to take the path less travelled to receive the greatest reward.

One thing you should know about me is that my entire life I have been fearful. My mother used to call me ‘Cling-on’ when I was a child because I was so afraid of strangers, new places, the unknown, or basically anything outside the 4 walls of our home. My parents decided I should go to preschool in hopes that I would outgrow this irrational behavior. The entire first week, my mom had to sit with me on her lap because I wouldn’t stop crying hysterically with a death grip on her shirt. If she attempted to stand I would begin climbing her pant leg like a tree. You know the sight. I remember it distinctly too. In all my 4 years of living this was by far the most traumatizing event yet faced. At some point though, thankfully, she adopted the ‘sink or swim’ parenting style and finally decided to cut the cord.

As I grew up, as most kids do, I faced numerous changes and challenges that frightened me. Climbing trees and getting stuck at the top, swimming under water, changing schools, making new friends, dating…I made the decision early on though that I wasn’t going to be controlled by my fear. I wasn’t going to sit in my heavily padded little box and miss out on life just because I felt scared. Each time I got out of my comfort zone, although it yielded high anxiety, I was rewarded with opportunities to grow and learn, and experiences so exhilarating that I never would have gotten had I not taken a chance on living. This has been my motto in life ever since. If I am scared to do it, that probably means I should try. The more frightening the risk, the greater the reward.

Today when I see a waterfall with no path although my mind may veer toward self-doubt and fear, my will to live fearlessly, adventurously, happily, joyous, and free quickly trumps that small voice of doubt and replaces it with “Let’s do it!” And seriously, if I can do it (the cling-on girl) than so can you!!! So what area of your life have you been ‘sitting in the padded comfort box’ with? When is the last time you did something that really got your blood pumping? Maybe it’s time to stop holding back and start living. Take a look at the photos from Tyler’s session- was the result worth it? Totally.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:14

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

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