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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

My Ebenezer Box: The Man in the Tattered Jeans (Part 2 of 3)

by Marilynn Chadwick

Continued from yesterday...

…Suddenly, I snapped back into the reality of sitting on the airport shuttle van. The conversation between the construction worker and the van driver continued. I caught a word or phrase here and there, still not paying much attention. That is, until the older man said something to the young driver about how “you just gotta be willing to try a new thing—even if it scares you.” 

“Take working on skyscrapers,” he went on. “At first, walking on that high beam is downright terrifying. But after a while, you don’t even notice it. You kinda enjoy the view—so high up there, above the world,” he said as he smiled. Again, I was struck by the way his eyes sparkled when he talked. He continued his play-by-play account of how he overcame his own fear of heights. 

By now, I’m all ears. What is there about this guy? Did he really just say that? Not once had our van driver said anything about a fear of heights. It’s as if this guy is talking directly to me! I tried to be casual as I leaned in even further to eavesdrop on the rest of their conversation. “It’s like when you’re up on a high diving board,” the older man went on. “The very first time you climb up on that board, it seems like you’re a mile high—especially when you look down at the ground. Just bouncing up and down is downright scary. But then, you get your courage up and jump off! After practicing a while, you take your first dive. Then, you learn to do flips! All of a sudden, you realize that what started out as your greatest fear becomes your greatest joy!”

By this point, I’m in awe. Without knowing it, this guy had perfectly described my very first experience on a high diving board back when I was a kid. To this day, I can remember the moment I got the nerve to climb that tall ladder. And how I mustered up the courage to jump off. Then, my first dive—and the day I learned to do a flip. How much I loved the high diving board after that! Just thinking back to those days made me feel a little less worried about our trip to the Himalayas. 

I studied the wise, but mysterious man. A former, high-beam construction worker—part philosopher, part counselor—who had learned how to do somersaults off a high diving board. Where did this guy come from?

“OK, young fella,” he suddenly blurted out, “I think I’ll hop off here.” The driver stopped the van abruptly. The construction worker jumped up and glanced over at me with a knowing smile. He waved and went bounding off across the street. It was as if God himself had winked at me. As if he was saying, “I’ve got this!” A sense of peace flooded my heart. For the first time, instead of fear, I began to feel excitement about our upcoming trip to the Himalayas. Could this guy have been some kind of “messenger” sent by God—maybe an angel? To encourage me and calm my fears; to remind me he’s in control? I’ve often wondered. Would my fear of heights turn into great joy as the man had described it? Our trip was in two weeks. Soon, I’d find out the answer to that question…

(To be continued tomorrow)

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