When we were kids, my dad used to take my brother and I out for walks in thunderstorms. As the sort of informal neighborhood supervisor, he had to clean out the drains around the mountainside community – at least that was the legitimating excuse. Really, he just loved it and knew we did, too.
We’d put on our ratty tennis shoes and rain coats and march out the door, Mom sort of wary, I think, but never objecting. With thunder booming over head, we’d march around stomping into the puddles and kicking pine needles from the drains, which were, of course, thigh high puddles at that point. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories. No fear, no worry about lightening strikes. Just total fun in the face of the storm.
My father is pretty fearless in general. Saturday, he climbed up on the bucket of a skid steer and told me to lift him up so that he could use a chain saw and cut down a limb. This was the first time I’d driven a skid steer in almost 20 years. I hoisted him up, and he cut away, dropping a limb onto the cab of the machine and at his own feet. He just smiled, laughed, and had me lower him to the ground. Fearless.
Maybe that’s why, today, as Sandy barrels toward us, I’m not concerned. The child in me wants it to blow and push, to be brutal and beautiful, even as the adult in me realizes this means damage and danger to many people. But for me, personally, I can’t really work up fear. My dad taught me well.
Maybe this is why I could quit my college teaching job to write full-time. Maybe this is why I could buy God’s Whisper farm and believe that the money, the help would come as needed. Maybe this is why, as we sit in a calm swath of Sandy, I hope she barrels in, takes out my power, and forces me to read all day long.
Sure, there are things that one should be afraid of – things that can kill and maim, things that can wound our hearts so badly that recovery becomes life-long. We can – should avoid those things.
But the things we cannot change – the inevitable, small hurts of relationship, the cut of dreams not yet attained, the wind and rain of the coming storm – why fear them? Instead, I choose to don my rain boots and walk out, splashing in the biggest puddles around, turning storm into laughter. Every time.
What do you fear? How do you face it?