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Stuck on the ski slope
From the top of the mountain, the parked cars on the road below looked like toys. How would I ever get back down there to where my mom was waiting for me? It was clear that I had made a big mistake. And there was no turning back.
It had all started out innocently enough. My mom had driven me to Mt. Waterman in our local mountains for ski lessons, which were given on top of the steep mountain and reachable only by a chair lift. After my first lesson, I’d had so much confidence in myself that I’d decided to ski down the face of the mountain instead of taking the chair lift back down. But now here I was at the top, and as I looked down the frightening, steep, tree-lined slope, I felt frozen with fear.
I felt frozen with fear.
Skiers whizzed by me. Only one stopped and asked if I needed help. I nodded, and he said, “OK, follow me!” Then away he went. So much for that!
From my Christian Science Sunday School class, I had learned that God is always with us. We hear the word for that a lot at Christmastime—“Immanuel, or ‘God with us,’ ” as Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. xi ). It’s the promise Jesus taught and proved that God is Love and that none of us can ever be outside of His care. But while I did have confidence that God was right there, my legs still wouldn’t move.
I began to sing Mrs. Eddy’s hymn “ ‘Feed my sheep,’ ” which begins, “Shepherd, show me how to go / O’er the hillside steep” (Poems, p. 14). It was a very steep hillside, but I knew that somehow God would show me the way down.
I knew that somehow God would show me the way.
At that time, skis were extra long, and difficult to maneuver. To make a turn, you had to point the skis downhill. That was beyond my ability. But as I stood there stock still in the cold, the thought suddenly came to try a different approach. I saw that I could go across the hill horizontally, letting the skis side slip, then make a kick turn, repeating until I reached the bottom. I definitely wouldn’t have won any skiing awards for my descent, but I did make it to the bottom all in one piece, feeling triumphant—and grateful for God’s care.
When I reached the car, I found that my mom had been praying, too. I’d been gone a long time, and she was very happy to see me.
There have been many other experiences in my life in which I’ve had to overcome fear, but this one has stayed with me as a proof that God really is with us and is always a very present help.