” I smiled when I saw the photo, thinking about you living life fearlessly (as you have written about) and taking risks, doing things that put you in harms way. Living life with the possibility of being hurt. These ripped jeans are testimony to me of that. I’m glad that you weren’t seriously injured, but I rejoice with you that you are able to do all the things you want to do and not give into a paralyzing fear that would keep you from them.”
This was written in the comment section of a photo I posted on facebook. A photo of my favorite jeans with a large rip in them just above the knee that was scraped when I slipped and fell while walking down a slightly declining wet ramp to board a mock pirate ship in Hakone Japan. Her first comment was “This is so awesome on so many levels.”
I was confused since it wasn’t awesome to look like a dork in front of so many people. I was actually more sad about the jeans first, then worried I’d be in pain for months to come (serious knee injury or just old lady back-out needing a chiropractor). It is that sort of fear that can lead to older people living a smaller and smaller life. Forgoing opportunities to see the world and connect with others along the way.
I’ve seen people do that, more women than men it seems. I don’t want to be that kind of woman. People who have known me for a long time think this adventure fits my personality. Some have always seen me as more brave than I am. Many think that because I’ve never met a stranger, talk easily and seem to make friends quickly that this has not been a very difficult transition.
Maybe it’s true that I was ‘born this way’, adventurous & brave. But the natural trajectory of (my) life since birth has been to pull into myself with each painful consequence of trying to live freely. The risks taken to live out my dreams were met by failure, disappointment and at times, excruciating pain, just like everyone else. I’ve been spared some trauma that others have had to face and I share in shameful secrets many will never admit to themselves, let alone talk about.
It has felt like war to keep pushing through the fear that would immobilize me. As I say this, I want to erase this whole post. The courage required to live my life pales in comparison to what so many women (and men) must deal with every day. This is clearly a “First World Problem”. But I’ll leave the post. It is real and we all must start where we are. Maybe I’ll be given the gift of more profound suffering.
I’m grateful to the people God has used to expose my fear that prompted the ugliest of un-loving interactions with others. I’m grateful for God’s kindness in giving me tastes of His goodness that calls me to trust Him and move into a world with many dangers, but none that can separate me from His love and His purposes. I want to look into the future with a smile, knowing that He will be with me no matter what dark valley I walk through and often times have a child or two of His to reach out and touch me at just the right time.