Being Grateful for Fear


I sat there listening to the sermon.

I reminded myself to breathe properly; in through my nose, out through my mouth, directly into my diaphragm. I felt heavy.

To my left sat my Mother; straight back, eyes open, fully present, collected, calm.  To my right sat my Father; hunched forward, chin resting on his hand, making direct eye contact, absorbing, feeling. They both occasionally pulled out their iPhones and made notes.

“That could be useful for me” my Mom leaned in and whispered.

“Yes, I might use that in my message tomorrow” my Dad would respond behind my back.

I would breathe.  In 2, 3, 4 Out, 2, 3, 4 In 2, 3, 4 Out 2, 3, 4.

That morning, I was drawn towards a change. I didn’t know what the change was, only that I didn’t have time for it; didn’t have the energy to accept it; didn’t know how to go about letting it into my life. At the same time, I knew I didn’t have a choice.

We are all given permission to change ourselves. I do not know why we tell ourselves it must be done slowly, must be done safely, must be done in small increments, must be at the right moment, must be comfortable – but I do know that is false. Change occurs inside of us in an instant; it is the breaking of the camels back, the last straw, the sense that we have been overcome. And yet the external aspect of change holds us back. How do we appear/act/seem to have changed, on the outside?

We have no reason to fear waking up anew – the ability to do so is the gift we were given as humankind – and yet I sat there inhaling stale air and exhaling the desire for new breath. I wanted change to stay out.

Because I feared failure.
Because I feared not being accepted.
Because I feared incoherence.
Because I feared fear itself, which is such a pivotal part of making changes.

I still fear these things, but I am grateful for this fear. Its consistent presence allows me to recognize there is nowhere to go but forward, into change, into development, into new birth. It reminds me every minute of every day that change is not optional, it is not passive, and it is not easy. It assures me that right this second I have the ability to inhale new breath and exhale the old.

I understand that change and all it encompasses isn’t built in a day, but sometimes I am reminded that Faith can be.

xo & yw

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