A tiny two-year-old finger smacked down in seconds on the red slide image. “There mama! I wanna go there,” Charli said said jumping up and down with anticipation. All of the scary-yet-fun options on the Roca Scary Farm Map had paralyzed me, but Charli was decided and already moving toward her clear choice.
Yes, I thought, while gathering up the stroller and our pumpkin-flavored doughnut, much better than the haunted trail or zombie apocalypse area. On this crisp fall day, I was excited, glad that my little family was still in the pink pumpkins and picnic-inside-a-giant-cupcake stage, nothing scary for us, or so I thought.
Charli’s high-pitched voice echoed down the giant red tube. “I’m coming mom!” she yelled.
This slide did look big to me–looming larger much larger than the little cartoon map picture–but she was confident, so I yelled back with outstretched arms and faked confidence, “Mama’s here. Go for it!”
Her “Wee!” turned to “Ahhh!” half way, and by the end she was crying, trembling in my arms. “It’s okay,” I said, “Mama’s here. “You don’t have to be scared,” I said, partly to myself.
Sometimes a slide, that dreaded e-mail, echoing phone call, or even the publish button on a blog post jump into our otherwise crisp-fall day and terrify without warning. Yes, there are real terrors and the feeling of fear is all too real, but most often the voice of fear is lying to us. Irrational worry or anxiousness that we won’t measure up fill up the room first, leaving no space for gratitude.
But gratitude isn’t just for the sunny stuff, for Charli and I bouncing sky-high and giggling at the Roca Berry Farm bounce pad, it’s also for the hug at the end of the slide. Even in the darkest of valleys, fear can’t eclipse the stillness on the other side of that hug, calling us to breathe, to quit trembling, to see we’re not alone, to see the unimaginable grace that will rush in in unexpected ways if we have ears to hear and the patience to keep listening.
- Dare to do one little scary thing. Show the fear it’s a liar. Then, note your gratitude.