In The Presence Of Fear

It was spring in TN and I had just graduated from University. I pulled away from my college town with 4 years of life in the backseat and made the long journey back to Seattle.

I reconnected with an old friend on the way. She handed me an envelope that said,“because post grad life can be scary”. Inside was a key with the word “fearless”. I hung it from my car mirror and watched it sway with each passing turn.

I kept a steady grip on it through the next three years. It hung from my neck as I stepped on the foreign soil of 20 countries. Some people might be surprised by my track record to find that I am innately fearful. Fearful of feeling too much and too little, of tripping on my shoelaces, of apathy and chewing gum. For me, fearlessness is unattainable. It’s an adjective, a defining characteristic. How can I be fearless in an unknown world where my safe place is easily violated?

But what if it actually didn’t say fearless, but fear less?

That I can handle. Because “fear less” is an encouragement, a worthy goal, grace. Fearing less looked like getting up after a motorbike accident, quitting the "good" job, saying no, moving across the world with no money, believing in God again.

On my way home today, a stranger grabbed me and began to pull me towards the elevator of the train station.Taking back my hand with force, I hopped on my bike & peddled fast to escape a man who thought he could assert his power over me. In my headphones, a ballad played repeatedly,“hallelujah, hallelujah”. This man thought he could take away my courage. But he didn’t know that for the last 3 years I have meditated on this idea of giving less power to that which scares me.

I gave away my key to someone who I hope will read this .I hope when she does, that she will know that she can move forward, even in the presence of her fear. She will read the key and seek perfection, but I hope instead, she will add the space and accept grace.

Tomorrow I have to go up that same elevator and when I do, my soul will echo, “hallelujah, hallelujah".