What To Feed
On the plane to Australia I watched one of my favorite movies, and found that it was not a favorite anymore. Weird feeling.
I hadn’t watched this movie in quite some time…. And I assumed I’d love it just as much as I used to. Instead I found myself watching it with new eyes.
I first saw it over 10 years ago. I had just moved out on my own, and I was so unsure of my direction in life. Insecure. Quiet in groups of people. The guy in the movie is just like this. He was someone I could identify with back then…. constantly paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. I was that guy.
I am floored by how little I identified with him this time around. Obviously the movie hasn’t changed. The story is the same, the characters are the same, and the ending is the same.
It’s me that’s changed.
I still experience fear, but I am learning to refuse to be paralyzed by it. I still experience uncertainty, but I recognize it as a part of life, and do my best to move forward. Watching the movie, I still identify with those feelings. They haven’t gone away. Fear and doubt never leave. I just try not to feed them.
We choose what to feed, I think. When I begin to feel afraid of something, I steel myself for the urge I know is coming. The urge to run. To back away. To avoid the opportunities for hurt and failure to strike. However, if I act on that urge, I miss opportunities for joy as well. That last thought is where the energy comes from. I’ve known few joys as great as the joy of a fear conquered. You can feed the fear, or feed the courage to find the joy beyond it.
This actually enters my decision making processes now. When faced with a tough decision, I try to ascertain which route I’m most terrified of. I see the opportunity to conquer another fear. Or fall flat on my face. Either way, I refuse to succumb to it, and that’s a triumph in itself.
I can feel determination grow in me. I refuse to be a slave to fear. I repeat this to myself.
I’d rather have a history of failed somethings than successful nothings. Immobility is the greatest of all failures, and one that you can avoid by choice. The race isn’t over. Keep moving. I repeat this to myself as well.
I can’t know how it all will end, but every day I can choose where to begin, and what to feed.
God, thank you for life and breath and for the time that we are given. Thank you for melodies and phrases. Thank you for families and friends. Thank you for courage, the fire inside each of us that is kindled by your love, and ignited by our suffering. Thank you that you know better than we do.