The Bigger Questions, Part II

Someone once wrote that life is just a series of opportunities to face your fears. While I was meeting with my friend Patti in Cleveland, she reminded me of what I had said to explain the trip, “I’m afraid that if we don’t do this, we might never recover from it.” And what I had meant was that sometimes the Universe hands you an opportunity and you either say yes or no to it. There is a tiny part of you that is jumping up and down excitedly screaming “Do it!” but then the very large and very rational side of your brain takes over and says it’s ridiculous and impossible and provides an excellent and well-thought out list of all the reasons you shouldn’t and mustn’t do it. It’s one of those soul-calling opportunities and if you say no (because of how scared you are), you might never take a risk again. That’s how it felt to us. As if we would be shells from then on, more fragile and fearful because we hadn’t said yes. Others saw this link before I did. One of my doctoral students said, “So you just faced one of your big fears.” I looked at him blankly because I had no idea what he was talking about. He reminded me, “Your big concern was what if you don’t get tenure and have to leave Cleveland and create a new life.” Hmm…. I had conveniently forgotten that one. Back to the earlier question of internal change, maybe it’s about facing fear. I guess I can check ‘create a new life’ off the list. Still to be faced: realizing we’ve blown all our savings and will need to work at Starbucks until we’re 92 (but, hey, I’ve heard they have free coffee and good health benefits so that’s a plus …).