The one about fear

“Listen, listen. This is the best line. I keep saying I’m going to write something about this line and this is the year I’m gonna do it.”

It’s dark and raining slightly as my car weaves its way down the highway. My good friend and I are on the way home from the beach. Shore trips are a tradition in my circle of friends. The weather hasn’t been very cooperative lately; it’s not quite warm enough to be down there but we were tired of being cooped up. We missed the sand, the sun, the waves. So we went anyway. Defying the weather forecast that called for rain. And we were rewarded for that defiance. The day was beautiful and even the promised rain that did eventually come, came late in the day and left such a beautiful rainbow behind that I couldn’t be upset it happened.

And now we were driving home. The final tradition of the day was playing through the speakers. On trips home from the shore we listen to John Mayer. But not just any John Mayer album. Only Continuum will do. I know this tradition started with my best and friend and me, but I can’t remember the first time we put it into practice. All I know is that it began with us and radiated to the rest of our friends until here I was with a completely different friend listening to the album that defines my summer. It was the cherry on the sundae of our perfect day.

And here we are back to the beginning of this post. The line is about to be sung. The line that the first time it was heard, it burrowed in my head so deeply it would never come out. I would think about it during random moments in my day. And every time I hear the song I wait in anticipation for it. The song is “The Heart of Life” and the line is as follows:

“Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood, but I know the heart of life is good.”

I wish I lived my life that way. I wish I lived like fear is a friend who is misunderstood. Instead a lot of the time I live my life the opposite way. When I’m afraid I run away. I shut down. I freak out. If something is causing me fear it has to be something to reject right? Not something to embrace. What am I afraid of? Change. It’s a cliche but it’s the truth. To really get to the core of it I have to say it’s not just change I fear; but rather the decisions that inevitably come with change. What if I make the wrong choice? Sometimes I feel like it’s better to just not change then make the wrong sort of change.

And yet that line. That line that won’t leave me alone. “Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood.” Misunderstanding. A breakdown in communication. Where does my breakdown in communication come in? There is no fear in love, life, or death. Why? Who holds my future? Who holds my past? He is my creator. The one who breathed life in my soul. He is the friend who never misunderstands me. I am like the disciples in the boat. I look across the waves and I am afraid. Who is this ghost coming towards me? And then he speaks and the wind and the waves calm. Why was I afraid? No more fear, that’s my friend. The one who sticks closer than a brother. Wherever he leads me I’m safe, because he is going first.

Feeling afraid isn’t the problem. Fear makes the moment you triumph that much sweeter. So I’m not going to try to stop feeling fear. I’m just not going to let it paralyze me. When fear comes along I’m going to recognize that I’m on the precipice of something great. Fear is the friend that reminds me what lies ahead. Great joy. The next chapter. I’m not afraid because I know the one who holds my life in his heart is good.


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