“Action conquers fear.” (Pete Zarlenga)
Some days these quotes challenge, this is one affirms. Over the course of my life I have been faced with many situations that scared the daylights out of me. Consciously or sub-consciously I knew that action was the thing that would help me cope with, and conquer the fear.
A few years back I was working at the Church during Tuesday night Religious Education. About the time classes were ending, my cell phone rang with a call from my wife’s phone. She was on her way to her monthly bunco game, and I assumed she was calling to say hello. I answered cheerfully, only to hear the sound of my wife’s best friend’s voice. My wife had doubled over in pain and was on her way to the hospital. I dropped everything I was doing to rush to her side.
We learned that night that she had a ruptured ovarian cyst. But, the ultrasound had also shown a large mass on her uterus. Over the next few days we moved from doctor to doctor in an ever escalating, and very rapid succession. The fear was that she had cancer, and that it was large.
For the next several weeks, until the surgery could take place, I was terrified. I had no idea what the surgeon would find, how long my wife would have after the surgery, and on and on. For the first week I was paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t get anything done at home or at work.
Finally I started taking action. I decided that our bedroom would need a minor make over, and there were other things around the house I could do to make things a little better after the surgery. I set out to get to work on those things. I took action. For the remaining evenings and weekends, rather than sitting around imagining the worst, I set myself to being busy. I cherished the time we were together, and I got things done.
The surgery ended up being very successful, and there was no cancer. My wife is very healthy today, and this is totally in our rear view mirror.
Life has thrown me more curve balls since, some of them incredibly scary. As I consider the fearsome things in my future, I know myself well enough to know that my best course of action, is action. I have made lists of things to keep me occupied, and will continue to work that list. Some of the things on the list are very practical, and intended to make me more ready when events approach. But, others are there just to keep me busy. I do this because I have learned that when my mind and body are idle, fear will creep in and take over. And I know fear will bring along its ugly cousin – worry. Fear and worry, to me, are a lethal combination. When I allow them to take over, then all else slows to a halt around me. But, neither are productive. There is nothing at all to be gained by my sitting in fear-laden worry. I am far more effective, and far happier, when I am about taking action.
Today’s quote affirms me. It tells me that my natural instincts, and my intentional actions are both serving to help me conquer fear, and squeeze worry out of my life.