Courage by Haley Bledsoe

July 11, 2016
Chains rattled in the brisk wind as I pulled my body to the next level; my chest tightening as the elevation increased.  My palms perspire and my legs quiver as I look behind at my steps.  I see the thousands of stairs below, the mountains peaking through the fog, and the millions of steps ahead.  I was on Mount Huashan, China, the deadliest hike in the world.  I planned and mentally prepared myself for this… “I am ready for this, I am going to conquer this mountain.” Despite this  determined voice in my head, nothing could fully equip me for the image that I was experiencing; it was real. 

I looked around my surroundings as I reached the north side. People were scattered around the peak, resembling an ant colony shuffling to complete their tasks. I noticed the diversity; different ages, skin color, adults wearing business attire while others resembling Sherpas carrying twice their body weight on their backs. It was the most bizarre scene I had ever seen. In that very moment, I realized that I would never have a feeling like this again. I could never replicate my sense of adventure, fuzziness that was buzzing in my head, and heat on the tips of my fingers. I live a different life, a very different life. However, there is something so unique but similar in everyone:  C O U R A G E.

The pillar that stands tall in my life is courage. I believe it does in everyone, although you may not yet be aware of it. There is a secret ingredient in each person on this world that will make people curious and inch closer to the edge. It is what keeps them up at night and sparks a passion in their soul. Some days it is dull, but sometimes it is strong enough to spark a forest fire. I believe when a person finds their niche they will indeed need the courage to share their passion and vision with the world. The Engler community has offered this experience for me. I have found an inclusive environment that has provided a standard that is tall enough for me to strive for but still see.

When I look back, I wonder what it would be like if I hadn't taken that risk or dipped my toes in the water. One thing I know for sure, I have never regretted pursuing what I believe in my heart is worth pursuing, despite other people's opinions. Courage takes faith and perseverance. I know it's worth the persecution, ridicule, and....the view.

Haley Bledsoe