More courageous than I used to be….

My stomach clenched and my pulse quickened as I followed the narrow, rocky path, catching up to my sister Kathleen, her husband Laurin, and niece Kylie standing as a group at the edge of a 35 foot ledge across a cliff face with a drop of 200 feet.

The realization that I had a fear of heights surprised and disappointed me.  As a younger man scrambling in the Rockies, I was pretty steady nerves-wise, even at 11,000 feet and higher.   But now, my fear of the sheer drop below me, took me by surprise.

We were hiking Mount Yamnuska, an impressive 7,349ft. mountain in the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies.

Thankfully, anchored into the rock face along the entire length of the ledge was a heavy duty chain.   Laurin went first, then Kylie, Kathleen and I.   Looking only to the ledge, and not further down, I grabbed the chain and stepped carefully to my right.   “Trust the chain, stay in the moment, and it will be fine.”

An outcropping of rock forced me to lean back into space and put my trust on the chain.  Step by careful step, I worked my way down the ledge to where Kathleen, Kylie, and I celebrated our feat of daring.   A feeling of triumph washed up in me.   “I’m a lot more courageous than I used to be,” I said to my sister.

“What do you mean?,” she asked.

“I’m more fearful than I used to be on these ledges, Kathleen, and that means I need more courage to get past them.”

“Ha!  I never thought about it that way,” Kathleen reacted, a note of enthusiasm in her voice.

A friend of mine reminded me recently that the more fear we feel, the more courage we need.  Her wisdom makes sense in mountain climbing and in life.  Accepting fear, and reacting to challenges with courage, will get us to the summits of our dreams and our goals.

Pat, Laurin, Kylie, and Kathleen at the summit

Categories Blog Post | Tags: , , , , , , | Posted on September 6, 2012

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  1. by Bruce Tallman

    On September 7, 2012

    Great to hear from you Pat (or should I say “Bilbo?”)

    You are in my prayers.

    You go guy!

    Via Con Dios (Go with God)

  2. by Patrick O'Connor

    On September 7, 2012

    “I want to see mountains, again, Gandalph,” said Bilbo.

    Thanks Bruce! I miss my Rattlebone brothers.


  3. by Celeste

    On September 7, 2012


    WOW WOW WOW! I am so impressed with your recent adventure and yet, I must admit that my stomach turned just imagining this height. You have truly pushed beyond your fear in a very brave manner. Thank you for sharing this experience and the important message of living with courage beyond our feeling of fear. With this courage we must have immense trust and faith in our Lord.

    I pray that you continue to be “courageous” on your journey and faithfully bound to Christ so that you will truly soar to heights beyond your own understanding and received each day with loving consolation.

    I look forward to your next posting Patrick :)

    Keep up the amazing stuff!

    In Christ,

  4. by Patrick O'Connor

    On September 7, 2012

    Why thank you Celeste. That was you, of course, who mentioned to me recently that we use courage to overcome fear.
    Bless you,

  5. by Craig

    On September 7, 2012

    Way to go Pat!
    I miss your attendance at our group … sigh
    How ’bout the next time you take your bike around the trail … now that’ll make you more courageous … ;-)

  6. by Patrick O'Connor

    On September 7, 2012

    …make me dead, Craig!
    Good to hear from you!

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