From The Storyteller
February 12, 2018, Fear
Several years ago Elaine and I were in Chicago for a wedding. With an extra day built in I offered to take her sightseeing in my old neighborhood. The places I had in mind included the house I grew up in, my elementary school, high school, home church, and the infamous “Hill”. Stories of my death defying rides down the “Hill” could almost scare paint off a door.
The trip was a real experience. The high school looked totally different. It had doubled in size, and the houses and stores that surrounded it were gone. The bike racks at the elementary school were replaced with mobile classrooms, and the open grass playground was now a fenced asphalt pad. While my old church looked the same, the house I grew up in was a lot smaller than I remembered.
I lived 20 years in that neighborhood and nothing changed. Now, 30+ years later, I discover everything had changed. The memories were still there, but the neighborhood felt different. It no longer felt familiar. Everything felt different except the “Hill”.
The street was there and it still ended with a sharp turn into the Methodist parking lot. The death defying part of the “Hill”, however turned out to be nothing more than a gentle slope. Still, as I stood there looking at it, I realized my feelings about it had not changed.
It was summer; I was seven with a 20 inch Schwinn bicycle. The idea of riding my bike down that hill terrified me. That summer I faced that fear and rode down that hill. It felt great, and I felt 10 foot tall. At seven I discovered there is power that comes from facing our fears. True at seven, true at seventy.
Moral: The important things in life don’t change.