I have a confession.
In my search to be present in every moment, I have become more and more aware of fear. My own fear and the fears of those around me. I have watched others around me faced with fear—fear of not getting married, fear of not being able to get pregnant, fear of not getting a job, fear of bad news in their health, fear of their new job, fear of their children’s safety and well-being—AND...
Most recently, as I look to the weeks ahead, I have tried to avoid a fear of my own.
This will be the fifth time I’ve jumped out of an airplane at the Big Jump festival for ESP. We started the event because we needed to raise funds for kids to go to camp and jumping tandem was on my bucket list. I was exhilarated by the new experience and the fact that 15 other people were doing it and sharing my passion to send kids to camp alongside me. Every time after, I did it to raise funds, but mainly because I was asking others to do it. But this time on my fifth skydive, I have to confess…. I’m more nervous than ever before. Now, I know what I’m in for. I also have so much more to lose. To be honest, the thought of it makes my stomach churn.
I have worked to avoid thinking about jumping and have grasped for clarity in my own fears of the future. Yesterday I ate at a local business, Nezda’s Waffles. (and it was DELICIOUS!) Part of the sweetness of their business model is to write kind notes on the paper of each ice cream. The employee knew I worked at ESP, but nothing more. The note to me was this…
“I am honored to have met one who leads BOLDLY”.
I do not think it is simply serendipitous nor a coincidence that this note was written for me, when it was written. Our ESP theme for the year is Bold. On the other side of boldness is fear. As I lead the effort of boldness, I am challenging myself to surrender, have courage and go forward in faith.
As I look around, I am inspired by the surrender, the courage and the faith I see every day. This summer and for 14 summers prior, I watched kids who were terrified of the water tube down the Chattahoochee or learn to swim. I saw kids with mobility challenges overcome nervous tears by taking a leap down a zipline. I’ve watched clammy 18-year-old volunteers change adult diapers. I’ve witnessed courageous parents leave children with tracheotomies at overnight camp in someone else’s care. I’ve cheered on a young girl with Down syndrome who has broken speech as she overcame her stage fright and belted a song on stage.
I am constantly inspired by the people around me. All of these individuals have obstacles, a million reasons to say “no” and let fear get in the way. Instead, the hope of the outcome motivates them to overcome their fears.
It has been said that the only thing greater than fear is hope.
The hope of the amazing rush, flying through the air… The hope of sending a child I love to summer camp… The hope that that child will experience something beyond their wildest imagination while they are at camp, all while their families receive respite. Those reasons are enough to stare fear in the face and hop off the plane with hope.
And so, little things like jumping off the plane or big decisions in our future… we have a choice to be overcome by fear or to experience opportunity.
What are you fearful of? What are you missing out on because of your fears? The temptation as we age is to become more fearful. Instead, maybe the greatest thing we need to fear is fear itself. Fear prevents us, faith allows us.
I’d love your support in flying high for jump #5 and together, we can send kids of all abilities to camp. Support my High 5 HERE.
Check out the progression of what it’s like to stare fear in the face 10,000 feet in the air....