“Are you ever afraid?”
The question came out of the blue. I did not have any context. I had no idea why the question was being asked. There was no obvious linked to anything that I had said, done, or recently thought about.
“Why do you ask?”
“I am often afraid. I was wondering if being afraid is normal. I thought it would be good to ask someone that seemed confident.”
“Interesting. Yes, there are times when I am afraid.”
Fortunately, the conversation turned away from the questioning. Even as I think about it, I wonder if I am willing to admit how much and often I am afraid. Given that I ride a motorcycle, there are bound to be moments where fear is tangibly real. The worst moments are not one where you are pushing the edge. They usually occur when another driver, truck or car, does not see you and simply turns into your path. These are moments when it is easy to express one fear.
If I think of other moments, riding a bicycle is a variation of the motorcycle only with less possibility to be aware or do something in response. Yet in the darkness of the night, this is not the greatest fear in my life. I am not sure I can articulate the source of my fear. I do know that I recognize the emotions when I read another writer’s words, “Don’t let them cut my throat; don’t let those mongrels devour me.” (Psalm 22.20)
There is a question behind the question is one that I wrestle with a lot. What am I going to do with my fear? Will I push on, striving, not willing to yield? Will I let fear dominate and control, setting the shape and tone of my actions?
I would love to say that I always win the battle with fear. There are moments when I am paralyzed, unable to take a decision. In the moment at hand I realize that everything is on the table. The freedom is within me. The choice is here.