Day 508

Conquering Fear

Fear is a funny thing. I don’t present in the world as a particularly fearful person, because I’m not. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel fear, of course. There are different levels of it.

There’s the abject terror I felt in the moment before being propelled from an airplane the one and only time I went skydiving. There’s the skin crawling fear I felt at seeing a spider that was roughly the size of my thumb on the wall above my desk in my office. It is the fear that bubbles in my bloodstream and gives me those pterodactyls in my stomach when I am allowing myself to be vulnerable with someone. Then there is the garden-variety run-of-the-mill fear when I am about to do something where I might physically get hurt. This last one isn’t too common for me. I’m not too much of a daredevil. And I’m in pretty good physical shape.

The other day a friend sent a text, offering me an opportunity to do something really remarkable. The catch? I would have to do it on ice skates. I can’t remember the last time I had ice skates on my feet, and the only vague recollection that I have about that experience was that it didn’t go so well.

The excitement for the “what“ deeply overshadowed the “how“, but as the day is true closer that scared feeling began to arise.

This is where the amazing Jennifer Young comes in. I told her about the exciting news and expressed a bit of my concern. Waiting barely a beat, she offered to meet me at the ice rink today for a crash course.

I was fine until we started walking towards the rink. Looking at me, she could tell I was uncomfortable, and smiled letting me know there is nothing to fear. There are some people who have an innate ability to set people at ease. Jennifer is one of those people.

Here’s the short version of the story: I did great. Don’t think I’ll be winning any Olympic medals anytime soon, but that by the end of our session on the ice I was cruising along pretty well. Even made a couple of pretty good turns and stopped on my own, without having to run into a wall to do it.

I might’ve been able to muster up the courage to do it on my own. When I go to this event on Wednesday I might’ve been fine. Here’s the thing, by opening my mouth and sharing my fear, I got help.

We all are afraid of something and there’s no shame in that. The only shame is failing to allow ourselves to be human and not allowing gracious spirits in our lives to grab our outreached hand.

And no there are no photos of today … but don’t worry there will be on Wednesday.

And since there were no pix from today here’s a pic taken around this time several years ago on the day my brother-in-law was sworn in as US Ambassador to New Zealand and I got to spend the day in remarkably hallowed halls … and chat with Joe Biden.

Today’s Gracious Gratitude. I am grateful for:

  • Rediscovering a love of ice skating
  • My dogs
  • That I had a great time conquering a fear
  • Cookies
  • Laughter
  • Friends whose gentle teasing feels like a warm hug
  • Winter chill while snuggled under a really warm blanket
  • Dry socks