Bumper sticker bravado. I was alone in the car but laughed out loud at the spot-on spotlight for what was going through my head. I mean, who can take seriously “whirled peas” when world peace is at stake? But then again, if it got my attention, then who can’t take it seriously? But “Ain’t Scared?” Really? How do I lessen fear when the “less-than’s” in my life had become the “greater than”?
Fear was the loudest voice in my head. The most consistent message in my home. It was in my mirror and in my checkbook and in my advice to my children and in my future since it was so much a part of my past. At that moment I was wrestling a version of right and wrong in my heart that had my eyes on the road, my hands at 10 and 2 but my foot riding the brake. Following that bumper sticker on that gray, sleety February road felt appropriate when you’ve followed a path paved with fear your entire life.
My fear was the most confident thing about me. It was reflected in the stories I told myself and about myself. And it was nurtured in my most important relationship. Until it wasn’t anymore. Because of a wish I made for my children. I wished for them to be able to face their fears and move through them. To walk into a room even though you had been taunted there yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. To bake cookies for someone who questions whether you should be eating one, too. To drink from an offered cup and hope they are a friend and not a foe. I wished them to be something I was not. And in constellating my wishes for my children I was softening them into living with fear instead of hardening their lives to flee from it.
On a warm night on a softball field in the middle of the season this summer, I noticed a teammate of my youngest doing something with her grip prior to swinging the bat so I got closer. She stood there, all alone in the batters box, 6, maybe 7 years old. Listening to parents behind her and a coach in front of
her and her team chanting and dancing to the rhythm of her name and the game. She knew she hadn’t done it yet and with a little backyard practice and a lot of eyes on her, she made a wish. She didn’t get a hit that time, but she did the next. Because she was fierce, not fearless.
Accepting fears as an everyday part of life takes the edge off of them. And if you close your eyes and say the word and focus on softening the sounds and the edges…. fears becomes fierce. But fiercely believing you can wish something – or someone into being – is the first step in re-imagining yourself. Because a wish becomes a prayer and a prayer becomes an invitation to something greater-than. On the power of a wish, a batter becomes a hitter and the fearful become fierce. It doesn’t matter how many times she had made that wish to be better — she never lost the faith that courage could make it happen.
Whispering our fears with a flip turn to fierce turns the “less-thans” into lessons in courage. How many times do we get close to our wishes coming through and back off because we are afraid. I was oh-so-close that night in the car, so many years ago. Close enough to read the fine print on the bottom of that bumper sticker. There, below the declaration of “Ain’t Scared” were some words and numbers… 2 Tim 1:7. It just took a little time and a little hitter to bring it all home to me. Pretty fierce, huh?
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but one of power, love and self-discipline”.
2 Timothy 1:7