A Nod to Halloween

Boo!  Did I scare you?

In light of the upcoming holiday, I’d like to talk a little about fear.  But how can you talk about fear without discussing courage?

I’ve learned that Google is a writer’s best friend, and there are a lot of great quotes about fear and courage, like this one…”Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”  (Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird).

But, why would you do that??  Because it’s worth it.

There are a lot of things to be afraid of…illness, aging, failure, embarrassment…death.

My $.02…Most of those things are inevitable.  So why waste time fearing them?  We can (and should!) take care of ourselves…watch what we eat, exercise, take our vitamins.  Beyond that, if illness is in our future, we can’t stop it.  If we are ill, we must endure it.  My suggestion…surrender, something that takes tremendous courage.  It’s about giving up the control that you don’t have anyway, and trusting that there are lessons to be learned, alternate paths which could have been worse and strength to be built in the process.  Then, let go.

As for aging…I can only hope that is in my future.  As my mom says with every new birthday candle…”it beats the alternative!”

Failure.  I believe the only failure is in not trying.  I’m certain that is a famous quote – I know I’m not clever enough to write it, but I failed at finding the author on my pal, Google.

One of my biggest pet-peeves is seeing wasted potential.  I hear people talk about their dreams, but they refuse to take even the smallest of steps toward them because it will be hard, or there’s no point, or it’s impossible.  How do you know?  What if you did it?  What if it took 20 years, but you could lose 100 pounds, finish college, climb the highest mountain on every continent, learn French or write a book.  Think of what you’d have in the end…something incredibly hard that YOU DID!

What if you fail?  At least you tried – good for you.  Think of what you’ll learn in the process of failing, and the character that will be built.  Think of the stories you’ll have to tell.  I wanted to be a country music star ever since I was a little girl belting out “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed” in my bedroom (which must have horrified and scarred my parents).  I’m not a country music star, but in the process of trying, I’ve sung on television, performed before audiences and recorded music with George Strait’s musicians.  It was FUN!

I’ve also embarrassed myself in the process.  I’ve forgotten the words to a song half way through in front of a live audience.  And, I didn’t die – wanted to, but it was a very forgiving audience.

Finally, let’s talk about death.  This is another one of those “inevitables.”  I’ve heard it said that we’re not afraid of death, we’re afraid of dying.   So true.  I’m not psychic, but I can tell you that death is in all our futures.

Bummer, sorry.

None of us know how we will die, so why not focus on living?  I think we all worry about what will happen to our loved ones once we’re gone, but again, that is out of our control.  So love them while you’re here, treat them in a way you can be proud of and the rest will get taken care of.

There may be pain and suffering that lead up to death, but again, out of our control.  If it’s coming, it’s coming.  Even more reason to do the hard things now – do what you’re meant to do.  Have a great story to tell in the end that will distract from the pain and suffering, and might entertain those who are holding your hand.

This is a huge topic, and what I suggest is most often a life-long process.  I’ve struggled through my dark days and am a work in progress.  My hope is that I’ve planted a seed for you to consider and maybe given you a chuckle or two in the process.  I’ll leave you with a final giggle with a picture…

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Mindy Henderson

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