I love to watch surfers. We don’t get many truly “surfable” waves here very often, but when we have any tropical systems that come near us, we get some very large and beautiful waves. Those days before the storm are when the local surfers come out of the woodwork! And I’m always completely amazed at how brave they seem – they paddle much farther out than I would ever venture, and then, when the wave gets close to them, they stand up on their boards and take that wave as far as they can. Sometimes they fall off – sometimes they are thrown off! But they get right back on that board and head right back out there! They don’t fear the waves!
Today’s post is a stretch for me because it requires me to be quite transparent. Today, I’m writing about fear. Paralyzing, gripping fear. Not the ridiculous kind that you get when you watch horror movies. I’m talking about legitimate fears. What are you afraid of? Do you have anything you truly fear? How do you handle it?
Fear is nothing new – it is a billion dollar industry spawning TV shows and movies and books. Wes Craven and Stephen King are household names because of their ability to cause fear. But when it isn’t in a book or on a television – when it isn’t something you can put down or turn off – what do you fear? There is a commercial on TV for a new programming box from Dish Network called The Hopper. In it, a Mike Ditka look-alike and two other men are standing in the kitchen watching a news program on a tablet, and it asks “Is your kitchen deadly?” and the man screams. Next scene is him and the two other grown men hiding under a bed watching the same news program on a tablet, and the news anchor states “Not as deadly as under your bed”, and again the older man screams. That commercial drives me batty. But my mother laughs at it every time.
Every. Single. Time.
I remember being a teenager and being downright giddy over haunted houses. Every year around this time I would get a bunch of my friends together and we would try and visit every haunted house and walking tour we could find. That is until Freddie Krueger grabbed my arm in one in Jacobson Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Dude was lucky he didn’t pull back a nub. Later that same tour, some evil clown wouldn’t let me out of a strobe-light filled maze. And that was IT. Have I mentioned I hate clowns? On a side note, do not ever invite me to a party where there will be clowns. We will not be friends. But that’s a completely different story. Back to the haunted houses! After that last haunted walk through Jacobson Park, I decided that fear was overrated, and that I was no longer interested. Thank you Freddie and Evil Clown! :-/
All joking aside, I actually do have things I’m genuinely afraid of. My greatest fear being that something would happen to my children. I worry about them every minute they aren’t sitting safely in my lap. It is something I pray about every day. I am also afraid that I will fail my nursing Boards. I’m so afraid of failing that I’m almost afraid to even TAKE them! What if I don’t remember everything? What will everyone think if I do fail them? And I’m so afraid of something happening to my kids that I’m almost afraid to let them do anything without me. What if the person they’re with doesn’t watch them like I do? What if they get lost? What if they get hurt?
The issue with fear happens when you let it govern you. I cannot keep my kids sheltered for their entire lives. And I cannot go on to be a nurse without taking my licensure exam. I CAN’T let my fears paralyze me. Life should be lived. And sometimes that living comes with risks and possibility of failures and hurts and loss. And if we aren’t careful, we catch ourselves just merely treading water on a surfboard instead of standing up and catching that next wave. I’m using that analogy to try and give you a visual of what I’m trying to say. Sometimes the view from your surfboard is beautiful, but the rush – the excitement, the exhilaration, the accomplishment – comes in standing up on that board and riding that wave as far as it can take you. Have you been merely treading water, admiring the view? Don’t let fear keep you from living. Maybe it’s time to put your feet on the board and stop fearing the waves.