Challenges by Sheila Johnson

 I often think of myself as a bit of a coward. I like to keep within my comfort zone. Although I enjoy watching Formula 1 racing, I don't like driving fast or being driven fast. I enjoy walking and can walk up to five miles on a road or a field in the country. However, walking down a steep, rocky terrain is well outside of my comfort zone. When my husband, Angus and I first went to Crete seven years ago, we attempted the very challenging ten mile descent of Samaria Gorge. Needless to say, we failed, or rather, I failed and Angus, being the faithful husband he is, returned with me.  This year we returned to Crete. Angus was determined to conquer the Samaria Gorge this time, and on his own, he did. However, he challenged me to do the lesser Imbros Gorge, five miles of steep, rocky terrain instead of ten, and at some places (fewer in the end than we thought!) the terrain we much leveller. I accepted the challenge, although you can see as I realise how steep the first descent is, the uncertainty shows on my face. It was tough. Towards the end I had to imbibe Ibuprofen just to go on, my back and legs were that sore. Then just a little further on, while Angus was checking the map, I was so tired I fell against a rock - I still have the bruise on my hip - only to find myself winched up by a big, burly German man. Quite an experience! Writing can also be a very frightening process, especially having the courage to show your work to friends and family, or even more daunting to a professional publisher. It's a bit like opening up part of your soul to the perusal of others. But we are a Christian organisation and we are all in the same position of having to be brave to show our work to others. Maybe though someone can come alongside us, like the big, strong man, and lift us up when we fall down or feel discouraged?  In conclusion, we did finally get to the end of the gorge and see the sea and the road ahead of us. You can see the joy and relief on our faces.  Perhaps that's the experience of holding that publishing contract in your hand, or maybe on a much simpler note just someone giving us a word of encouragement that can make our day?  
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