It smelled like vomit when we sat down. It wasn’t hot yet, as it was still morning, but the sun shone brightly enough to make the temperature of the coffee seem cooler than the outside air. This is one thing I hate.
Our waiter was a jolly hipster with cut-off jeans and a fake smile, a common problem in vegan restaurants. The food came out eventually and we suffered through a yeasty waffle and the tepid coffee. We tried to ignore the dirtiness of the table and the wobble of the chairs. It’s amazing how a subtle shift in perspective can ruin one of your favorite things to do. In this case lingering over coffee and breakfast became an exercise in patience.
As usual, I wait until my guts cave in before I find the courage to say what I need to say. With the sun spot-lighting into my eyes and sweat streaming down my sides, I stuck up for myself. This kind of thing happens to be one of my big fears.
Some things I have no fear of at all. Getting a shot at the doctor, visiting the dentist, serving a plate of food I know you’ve never tried before. And some things make me sweat just to think about. SCUBA diving, riding a motorcycle, surfing, picking up a live chicken. The difference between these fears is quick pain and slow pain. Getting a shot only hurts for a second, crashing a motorcycle leaves lasting wounds.
There are many fears I’ve been able to face, SCUBA and motorcycles among them, and many more I have not. There is slow pain involved for me to speak my truth if I think the ears that hear it will not agree. Mostly, I want to be loving, kind, easy to be around. If I need to speak words that are not easy, well, it’s like standing on the shore with a board in hand, simply unable to hop on and paddle in.
And I’m not so sure that the cliché is true, if you are scared to do something, then you should do it. There are no mistakes in this life, no pointing finger waiting around the corner. No one waiting to wag their “I told you so’s” around. And if there is someone wagging those words around, you know where they ought to go. If you are too scared, it’s ok. Your chance will come again, and if it’s important to you, someday the strength will come.
Let’s not bother over who is the most brave. It’s safe to say cliff jumping and mountain climbing and downhill skiing take courage. It’s also safe to say giving birth to a human being and sticking with a dead-end job to support loved ones and assuming student loan debt are also very courageous things. Bravery is all around us, heroes of the everyday.
Not all of us are willing to speak out against violence, strive to quit an addiction, or call in sick because we need the sleep. The truly brave among us are those that can look at this day and all the things we have been given in it and say, this is enough for me. To those that say, this is my life and I accept it exactly how it is, those are the heroes we never consider, that live beside us silently enjoying their serenity.
Not exactly an adrenaline junkie, I’m a dare devil of a different kind. Hell yeah I’ll hike alone, of course I’ll start a business, no question I’ll write a book. Facing those kinds of fears is quick pain. Yes, it will pinch, but only for a second. Someday I’ll face that slow pain and say, this is me, I’m enough, my life is exactly enough. I deserve nothing less than the song of my heart.
When you follow the song of your heart, despite it being scary, you realize before long that it’s bearable pain. You face that pain and that fear of pain and all of sudden you are on the road to the adventure of a lifetime, living a dream, or getting a filling.
There is no longer a question or doubt as to whether you’ll be willing to face that fear again. After all, you really needed to get that tooth fixed.