I know, I once wrote a post that said I’m not, but I discovered last night that I am.
Oh, I’m still not scared of dying.
I’m still not scared of the unknown that lies in wait for me.
I’m still not scared that I may cease to exist one day.
Rather, I’m scared.
It reminds me of the time many years ago when NASA wanted to send a teacher into space. I wanted to go. I sent for my application and was certain they would select me. When the application came, it stated that to apply, one must have completed five years of teaching. I was in my fifth year, so therefore did not qualify. I was terribly disappointed–to the point of childishly considering”fudging” just a bit on my application. Thankfully I caught hold of myself and threw the application away instead.
Later I began to wonder. How could someone (Moi) ride into space if I’m too afraid to ride roller coasters? So to prove to myself that I could do what it would take, even though I could no longer be considered, I began riding roller coasters–and began enjoying them. You may say to yourself, ‘Ah, mind over matter.’ But I’ll tell you the real secret.
As I stepped into the tiny metal propulsion machine (or so I pretended) I cinched down the seat belt until my lap complained, grasped the bar in front of me until my knuckles turned bloodless and white, and gave one last pleading prayer of promising to turn over the proverbial leaf if I was brought back safely. I was scared and my stomach knotted but I was ready to go.
And then, guess what? I discovered how to enjoy the ride instead of being afraid. How did I do that? By opening my eyes.
Always before my eyes had been closed and the blind anticipation of expecting something to go wrong had kept me in a state of terror. Now, I faced that careening out-of-control landscape whipping by in front of me with eyes wide open, and I enjoyed the thrill of the ride.
So, what about this being scared thing that is bubbling around right now? Has it been due to anticipation that something will go wrong? That’s crazy. Something has gone wrong. Has it been due to closing my eyes and not facing the truth? I don’t think so. Believe me, it’s next to impossible to ignore this condition.
I don’t know.
But I guarantee you, I will climb into this flesh and bone propulsion machine with my eyes wide open, facing my inner fears and enjoying the thrill of the ride. After all, if I indeed have what it takes to venture into outer space, I must have what it takes to venture into inner space.
And if you tell me in the future that you see that I am no longer scared of roller coasters, don’t be surprised if I answer, “Am too!”