I don’t believe anyone can conquer their own fears. Don’t believe me? Go back and re-read your favorite horror story or watch a beloved horror movie. Tell me you don’t feel a slight twinge of panic before the maniac chops his way through the door or saws one of the characters in half. Go ahead … tell me that. You can’t; can you?
As a child, I feared the water and the dark. Recently I was reminded of both fears when I was peering into a pitch black, twenty-foot hole where I was already about thirty feet under water. We were going to the bottom, fifty-two feet below the surface. It was dark … it was watery. Deep in my heart I felt a flutter as the child inside of me thought about the range of sea (in this case fresh-water spring) monsters could be living down there. With excitement, I pushed over the edge and made my way to the bottom.
The truth is that I never got over my fear of the water or the dark. However, I did learn to live with them. That’s right, I learned to grab them by the hands and skip off with them to play in the fields of my imagination. No one ever learns to really conquer their fears.
It took me a while to learn to deal with my fear of water. I did eventually learn to swim and because I was so terrified I learned to swim very well. Today, I’m proud to say that I’m a very strong swimmer. I became so comfortable in the water I became a certified SCUBA diver and have around one-hundred dives under my belt. Not too shabby for a scaredy-cat like me.
This week I took my son to a place called, Devil’s Den Spring. I was there last in 1992 and it was a cherished memory. This week, I took my son to the same spring and we went diving. It was a cinch my son would become not only a strong swimmer, but also fall in love with SCUBA diving.
As I got older I found my fears changing to center more on my children. Will they be alright? Did I raise them well? Are they on the right course for them? Compared to my fear of water and the dark seem miniscule.
I suppose life is full of fears and there are no ways around them. Maybe you just have to grab them by the hands and lead them off to the playground for a while. Maybe you won’t conquer them, maybe you can learn to play well with them at least.
Happy New Year Everyone!
-Your Humble Servant