This is the third installment of my talk on fear for the Women of the ELCA in Southwestern Washington. More will be coming weekly
When I wrote Old Lady on the Trail, I did not know much about the book business. I also had never been on Facebook. I had a journal on Trailjournals.com and figured that was plenty and why would I ever want to add Facebook. It would just be more work. But as I learned about getting news of my book where someone might consider buying it, a friend at church put me in contact with a successful self-published author. He told me to get on Facebook and join every hiking group I could find, to tell them about my book. And I did. And principally, that is why the book actually sold – well more than 6,000 copies so far. So now I’m on Facebook, and, yes, it is added work to read stuff that keeps popping up from all those Facebook groups.
But it is enlightening too. Fear is a frequent topic raised by a multitude of women, who want to hike or camp solo and leave their fears behind. And on Facebook, they help each other.
On September 12, I read a thank you from Annie to the group All Women, All Trails. She said, “You gave me all the best advice and I tried it all … meditating, breathing, putting myself in a place of fear to get used to it … I did it all and it worked. My mantra now is ‘I’m not trying to not be afraid, I’m not letting my fear be my focus.’ And It’s working – for all kinds of things.” Fears can be left behind, or at least out of focus.
How might one leave a fear behind? I hope you did not miss in my story about fording a river, that a friend helped me get past that fear. And Annie asked a whole group on Facebook and got lots of ideas to help. That is one way to help leave fear behind. God at work through others.
Here’s another story:
I am a very ornery and opinionated person. Sometimes that helps me. When I was not yet a pastor but was a pastor wanna-be, the ELCA clergy women held a retreat and invited me to come. That evening as we sat around and talked, the discussion was about the state of the world and how horrible it was that women could no longer walk anywhere alone at night. This was in about 1989 or 1990. It was a distinct moment in my life. I did not say anything in that discussion. After all, I was the new person in the group. But I clearly remember sitting there and saying to myself, “I refuse to live like that!” I refuse to have my life ruled by fear. I am just too darn ornery to agree to that.
Please understand that did not and does not mean I am never afraid. But I do refuse to have my life ruled by my fears.
So, how have I left some fears behind? I have learned about what I am doing in the wilderness. I have learned about the critters who live there and how to be a good visitor there. I have had friends who have helped me get past my fears. And I’m just an ornery person who decided I would not let fear rule my life.
How about you? How has education/learning helped you leave a fear behind? How have other people helped you with your fears? Have you ever just been ornery enough to say no to a fear. You have three minutes to turn to your neighbor and share.