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The Cowardly Lion

There are a few oldee but goodee musicals that have become my favourites: My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz. In each of these movies, the protagonist(s) all enter their musical with either fears to conquer or are on a mission to discover who they are.

Fears. Yup. I have fears. All kinds of fears that the little voice in my head says I should have.

The plan for August was to take a trip to Kimberley, BC to spend a week with friends. As we were getting excited about this trip, I was googling Kimberley to see what there was to do in the area. I came across white water rafting. It’s an activity I knew nothing about and never had considered before, but it grabbed my attention and I was drawn back to it, over and over again. It was not a cheap activity, so I was even afraid to mention it to my husband. At the same time, I thought it would be an easy way to not have to do it - cause he would say, we can’t afford it. So it wouldn’t be that I chickened out, it would be finances. So I brought it up to my hubby and he thought that might be a fun activity to do. (silence as I let that sink in)

So he is ok with it. What other excuses can I come up with to get out of it? Maybe it would be booked that weekend. I checked and one of the excursions was totally booked. Whew. But, I kept getting drawn back to the site. There was a longer excursion that lasted all day - and lo and behold it had space for us. Now what.

The cowardly lion crept up and filled me with thoughts: what if we flip; what if I crash into a rock; what if I fall out and can’t get back in; what if I get seasick; what if; what if; what if. For some reason, I knew that I had to get to Oz and I had to do this thing. Why? Why was this so compelling? I can think of a couple of reasons: 1) I have grown children who have tried stuff that I never did. 2) I never do things like this. I never did. 3) My dad would have LOVED to have done this. 4) Perhaps God was nudging me to face my fear of trying new things.

I went to Oz. I booked the trip. I’ll admit I was scared, nervous, unsure; was kind of hoping for inclimate weather and yet, I really really wanted to do this. The day came. It was hot and beautiful. The company that led this expedition was fantastic and gave us lots of safety information in a fun and informative way that helped me relax. God gave us a great captain for our raft; she was one of the owners and had a heart for adventure and a heart for people. We donned our gorgeous wetsuits, lifejackets and helmets and headed down the very long and steep and somewhat ‘iffy’ canyon trail to where the rafts awaited us. We walked into the freezing water to, as the owner said, ‘meet the river so that it doesn’t need to pull you in to meet you!’ It was freezing - yet I loved it.

We hit the river head on. The first rapid was within minutes of heading out. It was soooo cool. After that, I was mesmerized by the beauty of this hidden canyon, the power of the water, the majesty of nature and the prospect of accomplishing my newest addition to my bucket list!

Half way down the river, the cowardly lion roared in my ear and told me not to do the cliff jumping. I was ok with that advice… until we got there. I don’t know what pushed me that day, but as I watched people get out of the raft, climb the cliff and jump - I knew that I needed to jump - even if it was only from the halfway mark - I knew I needed to face off with the lion and simply jump. So… I did.

That day I swam in freezing cold water; I swerved down rapids; I jumped off a ‘cliff’; I sat in a van that drove up and down some sketchy roads and didn’t freak out; I got to Oz and with the help of my God, my wizard, I jumped and swam away from fear.

Will I whitewater raft again? I sure hope so. Will I be nervous about it? You bet. Will I be afraid? Hmmmmm… maybe. But I know that courage lies within me now. I know that God will give me the strength right when I need it. I believe He walked with me down the hill that day and that he ‘pushed’ me off that cliff and swam beside me in that cold river. That day should have been my mom and dad’s 51st wedding anniversary. Maybe that’s what drove me that day. Maybe it was my kids and needing them to know that mom could tackle her fears. Maybe I wanted them to know that they could also face anything that scares them. If I could… then surely they can. Whatever the reason, on August 12, the cowardly lion found her courage!

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