Fear comes in many forms.
The breeze blew gently, making a rustling in the trees above our heads, as we took a seat on a cast iron garden bench at Bok Tower Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida.
Striking out on a new and unexplored path with my bestie, GJ, I found myself stiffly checking for water and gators. As a bush shook, I heard a few giggles, and realized gators don’t laugh, but people do. My shoulders relaxed, and for the moment, I surveyed the beautiful gardens. Azaleas and honeysuckle, lantana and camellias, jasmine and hundreds of daisies were in full bloom. The scent of orange blossoms was intoxicating.
Overhead, a humming noise cut across the sky, and a plane that appeared to be a Piper or something of that sort was making its way to its next destination.
A friend of mine is into planes, and I wondered if it was his.
I am not sure exactly when the fear of planes flying overhead settled into my spirit. When my kids were tiny, I lived across from an airport, and enjoyed watching all the air traffic, to include the Blue Angels and other jets.
Then it struck me that I had covered a couple fatal plane crashes during my time as a journalist.
So there you go.
It is no secret that I do not ever ride with anyone in a vehicle .. other than my best friend. I like driving myself when possible.
I cannot fly a plane.
The last time I flew on an airplane (rather, in an airplane), the pilot sensed there were some uptight passengers afraid of flying.
In his quite professional voice, he told us all to sit back and relax. And he handled the plane like a soldier. Amazing flight.
That is what people say if you are not crazy about riding roller coasters or flying, or are cautious as you go through life. As I was recently chided by a new friend about not riding theme park rides and avoiding sushi, I turned to the man and told him that I am very confident in who I am as a person.
“You’ve got to live a little,” he said.
My nostrils flared but I was still smiling.
After a few minutes on the garden bench, the bestie and I charted course for the next path, and as we did, stopped for a photo by some outdoor sculptures situated in the Fairy Garden. I bent down on one knee in the white sand as the bestie took a photo.
Reallyyy? I said, as a very large wasp started chasing me.
The ultimate photo bomb.
We finally got the photo.
Further down the path, I saw a sign about bobcats. Like, in the day, where are they? But there were kids running around, so I thought hey I am safe.
Of course I checked the trees.
I think I heard a gator laugh, though.
As you know, this is the season of Lent. A time to reconnect spiritually and do a sort of faith overhaul.
I justify my many fears by the reality of said matter at hand. While it is true tragedies of many types happen, it is not necessarily likely that they will.
Truth is, while I have many fears, I also am brave in other ways. And I only share this because I am sure others deal with fears of various kinds.
What are your fears? Do you also have areas of your life in which you truly live courageously?
Is it possible for me to both acknowledge my fears, respect myself, as well as try a few new things now and then, a new path at a nature park? I did today.
And for that tiny step, I am encouraged in my spirit.
P.S. I have learned that sushi is not always raw fish. Some is cooked. I have taken note and will examine the subject at some point and return with my thoughts.