They had been stable immediately prior that moment. They were planted into the dirt-callused rock, and they felt normal; natural. But then I began to tremble and my body began to sway, and the toes that once felt so safe and carefree were now hanging off the edge of that now slippery rock. They were shaking. And as one side felt weighted down, the other side began to lift, lift, lift, until the stable side was all that was holding me down. When my wavering toes finally grabbed hold of the rock's thin edge, my once firm foundation felt as if it were rocking, and my previously stable side began to waver back and forth, back and forth.
Though I exceedingly grew in fear the cliff, in retrospect I somehow knew in that moment that I would not fall off the edge that was so frangibly holding me up.
My vertigo is a lot like my toes being on the edge of that seemingly faltered cliff. The unsteadiness throws me off-guard multiple times a week - sometimes even multiple times a day. And while it's oftentimes frustrating and embarrassing to stumble and trip over myself in front of strangers and friends alike, I know that vertigo is part of me for a reason.
When I first saw the signs of it, I was scared to death. I didn't know why I felt so light-headed and weak so frequently, and I often shrank at the thought of doing extracurricular and social activities. Class was done; I was going home. A friend invited me to hang out; I was hesitant. I was so afraid that once I got to where I wanted to go, I would be so off-balanced that I'd be too afraid to drive home. I had never known until that season that I could feel vulnerable to fainting and dizziness in such a frightening way. Could I do anything alone? Would I constantly need to have people in my presence, even when I got in my car to drive to the store a mere two minutes away?
My anxiety grew, my patience stretched, and sadness grew in my heart. Feeling like you're about to fall over doesn't seem like a big deal until it makes persistent residency in your life. Through hours of chiropractor treatment weekly, shortness of breath from fear, and stomach pains that were prayed over often, the light at the end of the tunnel was but a speckle of dust miles and miles away.
I remember asking God for patience and humility that year. I also remember worrying about those requests soon after making them. I knew it was worth it though, and I did not regret the prayers He received from me at that time. Now as I look back, I realize this was God's way of responding to my sincere desire for these fruits to be produced more deeply and radically in my life.
Thankfully, I grew tired of complaining about my vertigo; it seemed quite irrational to complain about something through which God was blessing. If the matter now comes to surface, it's usually because I'm laughing at myself when I'm about to fall and my friend sees me, or when I lose my balance and my boyfriend holds my arm to keep me steady. God has taught me to find joy in this challenge of mine, but more than that, He has shown me the necessity in being patient with myself. Even more so, however, is the development of humility He has instilled in me through it all.
My professor Jon Rittenhouse once said, "God allows experiences to come about in order to soften out hearts and transform our characters." I agree. There is never a cliff in our lives that God cannot use.