Fear is on my mind as I search for stones on the beach. It’s something I enjoy – seeking out a stone that stands out, worn by the sand and sun and water. As I pick up stones and turn them over to inspect them, I think about being afraid. How sometimes instead of pushing through fear, letting it goad me into more, it stops me. Instead of acknowledging and facing fear, I hide. I won’t run, but I let fear push me around. What if my dream doesn’t work out? What if my hard work is for nothing? What if I fail? The fear is so loud I can’t hear the beat of my heart. It’s so loud I forget how to believe. What is the point of dreaming when you’re so busy dashing your hopes? Do we stop pursuing because we can’t predict the future? Do we let go of the thrill of something new because we don’t know the outcome? Do I want a life without risking and trying? I live my life so steeped in reality and the possible pitfalls that I snuff out the what-could-be.
The problem with expecting the worst is that you begin to believe the worst. The worst creeps into everything until it clouds your vision, stunts your growth. It’s ugly because it can’t be beautiful. Futile replaces almost. There are shadows rather than light. Good doesn’t matter when it’s never good enough. ‘The worst’ is poison.
As I pick up and put down stones I think about what I want and don’t want. I put down judgment, timidity, and doubt. I pick up grace. Grace for myself and for others. I carry beauty. Beauty in the ocean stretched out in front of me, in the wondrous colors of the sky. Beauty in the softness and strength of my family playing nearby. I hang onto hope. There is hope in trying and I have to try. I am afraid of the unknown, of what I can’t control, but fear doesn’t have to be stronger than love, bigger than all that I can count on. I look at the collection of small white stones in my hand and feel the small ridges, the lightness of them in my palm, and I decide to keep what is true.