Fear comes in all shapes, all sizes. Some fear is bold and aggressive. Some fears sneak up on you and catch you by surprise. No matter how it comes, fear, large fear or small fear will kick your a—-well, it will hurt up if you let it.
Tonight Colton was terrified of swimming the 500 (20 laps). He dug deep, did it and conquered his fear. I don’t even know what “place” he finished. Don’t really care. His victory, and mine, isn’t about whether he won or lost. It’s the fact that even though he was terrified he jumped in (literally) and DID IT. It took my breath away to see him fight himself as he paced up and down the pool deck. My little fellow expelled more energy waiting to swim then most of the other swimmers used in their race. My heart heart every time he bent over as if to squash the butterflies in his stomach. Ever jitter, every gesture, every lap of his pacing my heart hurt. I was afraid for him. I truly wanted to get his attention and tell him he didn’t have to do this. But I didn’t. Instead, I plastered a smile on my face and appeared to be calm-cool-collected and confident. I cried a little at lap 15 when he looked so tired. I gripped the railing so tight my knuckles turned white and my fingers ached on lap 17 when those little arms seemed to reach a little less and those little feet didn’t kick quite as hard. That is when I stopped screaming, “go colton” and started yelling, “I am so proud of you.” I quit breathing on lap 18. The world seemed to stop on lap 19 when he seemed to wearily reach the wall and do his flip turn. That last lap was the most rewarding 40.26 seconds of my life. I was afraid for him but I didn’t need to be. He was afraid, and who can blame him, but he didn’t let that fear win. Somewhere I wanted to believe that though his heart is his own, that lesson was learned from me.
Silly though it may be…I beat a few of my own fears recently. I stepped out on a limb and agreed to do the Warrior Dash. Still slightly terrified but quietly determined too. Sillier still is how afraid I am to be social, to be a friend and to have a friend. In the past few weeks I’ve managed to swallow that fear and actually go to lunch with women my own age without being forced. I’ve participated in conversations. To some that may seem absurd and ridiculous but that fear has kept me lonely for many years. To overcome it and to push through it every time a lunch invitation arrives is my version of a 500yard race.
Every day something scares us. Something little or something big. Being afraid of something isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Letting the fear win is.
Fear lost today.