Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with the dictum, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Her actual quote is: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” Thank you, Eleanor Roosevelt! Turns out, life furnishes far more occasions that scare the living daylights out of us than ones that mesh with our preferred zones of comfort. (have you noticed that, too or is it just me?) School exams. Road test for a driver’s license. Becoming an adult or growing up. Getting down on one knee with an expensive ring in your hand. Saying the big affirmative to the afore-mentioned person. Job interviews. First baby. First home. (the list goes on and on and on). Somewhere in the endless succession of fear-producing situations comes the thought that maybe this is, after all, well, life; a roller coaster with your name on it with you along for the ride. Who prepares you for the dizzying climbs, the upside-down loops, the hurtling drops, the careening twists, the heart-thumping, screaming stops? I mean, seriously, it’s like on-the-job training for ninety plus years! We do, of course, have a precedent set for us in the Christmas Story to jolt us out of any creeping self-pity. It would appear that ‘really stopping to look fear in the face’ swings wide the doors to heaven’s throne room, supplants all stabbing fear with shields-up grit, beckons us to move on and suffuses our previously-cowering selves with, of all things, joy and confident determination. Maybe Eleanor was on to something! PD
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