Facing fear isn’t as easy as it first appears. But does it even appear easy at its first, second or fifty-third appearance? Sure, to the one who isn’t facing the fear.
If our goal is to learn, love and serve, whether that goal keeps us (or leads us) home or beyond, at some point on the journey we have and will experience fear. We all do. It’s a human thing. But the answer to fear isn’t.
I learned a few things about fear on my train trip and I want to share them in case my life gleanings can help someone else. (Under your doctors’ and psychologists’ direction, of course, because I’m just an aproned mom talking about her life experiences.)
Facing Long, Long L…O…N…G Fears
Let’s talk escalators. That has been a fear of mine for [counting … 3, 4, 6 …] gee, a lot of years. It began as a rational fear, but it became less rational and just got easier to not face the fear.
At mall department stores it’s not such a big deal. Just walk a few steps to the back corner to the elevator.
But sometimes it is quite inconvenient, like finding an elevator in every Metro station in DC.
Doable if you have to do it, like when I had my wheelie suitcase, but annoying when I didn’t really have to ride down in a box; I was just chicken not to.
(I hope I remember another day to tell you the Twilight Zone elevator box story.)
You will still find me searching for an elevator on occasion, even after facing my escalator fears – and boy, did I face them! – but when I do ride the box now, I’ll know it’s because my balance feels genuinely off or my leg/ankle feels genuinely weak.
It won’t be an automatic go-to because I fear the shifting plates of metal beneath my feet.
Facing Deep, Deep D…E…E…P Fears
Another fear I faced on the trip is being deep underground in a moving vehicle in a location where earthquakes can happen and whose doors can slice you in half at the least hesitation of the wary Metro rider.
Riding the Metro Tips
Okay, the slicing tourists in half thing may be an exaggeration of the power of subway doors, but rational or exaggerated, I now know when traveling on the Metro:
- How to add value to my Smartrip Card. (It’s easy, he said. It was easy, she learned.)
- Where to wait. (Close to the bumpy dots on the floor, but a smidge to the side of the opening doors).
- How to stand my ground while waiting. (Politely, yet firmly).
- When to stand up. (Rise as the subway approaches the destination station and scootch carefully toward the door).
- How to hold on when standing.(Hold on to something connected to the train, not just to your suitcase with wheels.)
- How to get off calmly, yet purposefully. (Uh, stay calm and walk purposely.)
- How to get out of the way of fast-moving DC-ers. (Keep moving away from the doors so departing passengers can go whichever direction they need to go. They will grumble.)
- How to exit the station. (Have Smartrip Card handy on exit, as well as the obvious on entry. I learned on my nearly-last outing that the scanner can read the card right through my phone case cover!)
All that I learned by facing my fear of falling rocks deep underground with thousands of strangers!
(Pause for Reality Check: My photos will not always be crisp. I chose – wisely – to leave my camera at home and just take my phone. And yep, that was another fear! What will my readers think??!!)
Conquering Fears = More Time for Book Reading!
I even got comfortable enough riding the metro that coming back from my second trip to the National Gallery of Art (sigh, love, oh wow, yah, must do it again) I read a bit of my new book, “The Art Spirit” by Robert Henri of Ashcan art fame (sigh, love, oh wow, yah, it’s that good).
Facing Fear After Fear After Fear
On the trip, I also faced:
- Phone apps
- Google walking maps
- And a herd of other worries, anxieties and fears.
Some are Mine, Some are Others’
I learned that some fears were genuinely mine to conquer, while some I had absorbed from others and weren’t mine to vanquish.
Since this post is getting quite long and I don’t want to bore you (another fear of mine!), I will leave a second batch of facing fear thoughts until next post.
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It’s Your Turn
- Do you have fears?
- Are they rational or irrational fears?
- Are they convenient fears or inconvenient ones?
- Are they your fears?
- Or someone else’s?