Tag Archives: risk

Parenting Through Fear

16 Oct

I used to be fearless. Well, maybe not completely fearless, worries and doubts still plagued me, but overall my philosophy on life was:

You can’t let your fear paralyze you.

You have to move forward and choose your own adventure.

And so I did. Throughout my early to mid-twenties I threw aside normal ideas of what life should look like, such as college and a career, and went on some crazy adventures. I lived a day at a time, trusting God for what I needed and that still small voice to guide me to the next step. And He did. I lived on a bus traveling all over the U.S. and later to ten different countries. It was never easy, but it was always worth it.

Adventure Girl.

I remember waking up to voices shouting in Spanish, which I could barely understand. They were angry. I looked out the bus window. It was dark, the sun barely beginning to rise. We were in the middle of thick, uninhabitable jungle, driving through the edge of Costa Rica to make our way to the Panama border.  A man had got on the bus and was arguing loudly with the bus driver.

Oh my God. Are we being hijacked?

The thought entered my mind and left it immediately, peace washing over me.

Whatever happens, I will be ok. I am exactly where I need to be.

It turned out it wasn’t a bus-jacking, but rather an accident miles ahead that had left traffic halted on both sides. A Semi-truck had tried to cross this dilapidated bridge and broken it, getting its tires and front end wedged into the few slats that held the whole poorly designed structure together.

Vehicles stopped in the middle of the jungle

It was about 4 am and we were told to get off the bus, get our backpacks from below and hike through the jungle, across this broken bridge. We then climbed a rickety ladder to the shore on the other side, where another bus would be waiting to take us to the border.

I was thrilled. Honestly. I couldn’t hide my grin.

Danger! Excitement! Who gets to do this?!

Fast-forward 7 years later, I am pushing 30, married with a kid. I haven’t left Texas in two years. Now I see news stories about ISIS beheadings and Ebola and I am gripped with fear.

It is a foreign feeling, icy and paralyzing in the pit of my stomach.

Something happened 4 months ago when I went through labor and held my precious daughter in my arms for the first time.

Suddenly, fear and worry and anxiety took on a whole new level because I am have been given the beautiful burden of parenthood.

Nightmares come, usually where I am somewhere adventurous and my daughter is in danger.

All at once the carefree girl I was came crashing head-to-head with this grown-up woman who loves her child more than life itself.

Love that is fierce and crushing and overwhelming and full of all the best and the worst possibilities.

I’ve always been someone who has always believed the best about people, always given them the benefit of doubt. Suddenly every stranger who looks at me the wrong was is a potential criminal or terrorist or psycho that could hurt my baby.

I’ve always been very nonchalant about my health, never had any major medical issues, or worried about sickness and injury. Now, I lay in bed at night fearful of going on a plane or even to the grocery store because this horrible disease is spreading and so close to home.

I know nothing I am saying is new, it is a deep God-given instinct for the survival of our species.

I must protect my young.

But I don’t want to project my fears on her. I don’t want her to grow up assuming the worst or being overly cautious.

After all, life is a risk.

We never know what we could face when we chose to walk out our door into the sunlight.

Pain and loss is inevitable, you can’t escape it.

Maybe I shouldn’t try so hard to escape my fear, but rather push through it to the other side and choose to live life anyways.

Maybe that is true bravery.

Now that I am a mom, there is always going to be something to worry about. No matter the situation, or what the news blares loudly.  Whether they find the cure for Ebola tomorrow or it turns into this century’s black plague. Whether or not we defeat terrorism far away, or it rears its evil head within our borders.

Perfect love drives out all fear.

I don’t think this means fear goes away completely, it just means it’s pushed out of the spotlight in your heart because Love takes over and there isn’t room for both.

When love is in center stages, the light it radiates shines into every dark corner, illuminating the bad things as smaller than we thought they were.

And then I can say with confidence once again,

Whatever happens, we will be ok. We are exactly where we need to be.

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Divine Unknowns

2 Sep

In the stillness of the morning
I close my eyes
and feel covered by a peace
that warms the sensitive
skin of my soul
fragile and yearning for comfort
a warm cup of obsoletes
in a room of shivering uncertainties

I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of unknowns
it’s wild and open and free

I’d rather be here then the bleak, cold bus station
thinking I know my destination
riding in circles to fake conclusions
living half-awake with no anticipation
drifting into a monotonous drive
where everything looks the same
all is safe and colorless

I’ve forgotten how to be alive:

be here
where I don’t have a clue
inside the mystery
the land of unknowns
where it’s wild and open and free

I’ve been down this road before
a clear map in my imagination
pale faces line the highways
and I don’t turn to see
I am too focused on my destination
I forget the point of the journey

there’s no time for ignoring humanity
no room to fall for the same old spiel
lies to fake what’s inside of me
fear is a traffic jam in my head
and the noise is unprecedented

but love is the driving force
love makes room
for the swirling apprehensions
and the deafening doubts
love doesn’t fear them
love resists forcing a hand
or controlling a plan
loves steers off the wide road
and brings me home

so right now
I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of divine unknowns
where It’s open and wild and free

These Unfettered Lines

10 Apr

 

my story begins not-so-right

fighting and biting my way out of the night

 

aware of having a face that wasn’t my own

obsessed with avoiding being alone

 

pushing, squeezing

trying to work on my breathing

 

never believing

I could really make it out on time

 

but this is how I came to love

these unfettered lines

 

I traded all I thought I was

into who I really am

 

I gave up following a straight line

and started for an uncharted way

 

I turned in my map for a songbook

and traced the light into the day

 

I gave up and lost it all

and let myself fall

 

into the grace of not knowing

where I am or where I am going

 

and soon I came to see

I had been strangling the life right out of me

 

with a rulebook as a noose

and a false sense of reality

 

but this is how I came to love

these unfettered lines

 

I gave up all I thought I knew

and danced in a dark room

 

running for the sunrise

obligatory ambitions absolved

 

I returned to the womb

and started anew

 

these words finally opening my eyes

 

When You Come To The Edge

30 Aug

 

“Is it safe?”

I asked, nerves coming out. I had tried to act all cool and adventurous, like I used to be, like I didn’t have a care in the world. But all of a sudden that pretense was falling down, like I imagined my body falling into a herd of Longhorns grazing below, as I went down the 1500 foot zip line,  the skies of a Texas summer storm darkening in the distance.

“Well, it is metal, and lightening is attracted to it,” The skinny collage guy guide said with a slight smirk.

“Thanks. That’s reassuring,” I quipped.

I gulped. Jean-Thomas was waiting on the other side. It looked miles away.

It’s not that I am afraid of heights. I’ve always prided myself of loving them, adoring the adrenaline rush, the feeling of flying.

No, I wasn’t afraid so much of falling.

By the time we reached this last zip line, this grand finale, the wind was blowing fiercely, against us. I watched Jean-Thomas go down the zip line and come to a stop before the platform, hanging like a shirt on a clothes line, only to grab onto the line and pull himself in.

That is what I was afraid of. That I would get stuck.

That I would have to pull myself into the other side, that I wasn’t strong enough to do it.

And while I was stuck, the rain would pour down and the thunder boom, and there I would be, a human lightening rod, dangling in the thin air like a skewered piece of meat over a barbecue, ready to be zapped and fried.

Fear used to control my life. I spent time worrying about dying, about having no one to love me, about being alone.

When I was set free, I began to live like I never thought possible. My inward reality reflected on my outward decisions.

I decided to live.

I sold everything I had. I quit my job. I trekked across foreign unknown lands. I shared my heart with strangers.

I lived with abandonment and uncertainty, always moving forward.

Always choosing adventure.

There were plenty moments of terror, but plenty moments of joy.

But faith and risk needs to be exercised, or you become weak again.

Comfortable.

Afraid.

“You’ve got to go now,” I heard the guide telling me, “The storm is getting closer.”

I gulped. Closed my eyes for just a moment. I could feel the wind on my face, cool and inviting.

On the other side, my love was waiting. Waiting for me to jump. Waiting to help pull me in if I got stuck.

The guide reassured me, “It’s ok. If you get stuck they can throw you a rope.”

I realized then, even if I was too weak, it didn’t matter.

I wasn’t alone.

“1…2… 3!”

I jumped. And flew, free, into the storm.

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen:

There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly”

-Patrick Overton

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