When you’re scared, when you’re hanging on, when life is hurting you, then you’re going to see what you’re really made of.
When was the last time you were really, really, really scared?
I remember when I was younger—like 7 or 8 years old—my greatest fear in life was thunderstorms and/or tornados. (Well, those and Chucky. Don’t get me started on Chucky.) Anytime a dark cloud would roll overhead, I was certain imminent apocalyptic doom was near. Better still—my brother, mother, father, and I lived in a bi-level home with no underground basement. This convinced me that should my worst fear come true and a tornado strike down on Plateau Street in Columbus, OH—we would all surely be crushed under the rubble of our home or swept up into oblivion. Now, I’m not talking about nervously checking the forecast on the news or sheepishly asking my mother what our emergency plan was—I’m talking about hiding under a blanket in utter tears because I was so sure that we were all about to die. Nothing stressed me out more, consumed more of my time and energy, than my fear of death by tornado.
My mother would always tell me, after I would flip out about a “Severe Thunderstorm Warning” signal in the corner of the TV screen, that “we will be fine.” I never believed her, but she always proved me right.
“There’s no way she can know that,” I would tell myself. “Everything on TV and the radio is saying that something is coming. Something severe. And it is terribly dark outside. And that cloud that is directly above me looks hauntingly tangible…”
However, what I didn’t know was that my mother had endured hundreds of “Severe Weather Warnings” in her lifetime. She had sat in a house even smaller than the one we were inhabiting at the time, while winds and rains rattled it. Hell, she probably even drove through some of the same thunderstorms I was certain would ultimately murder me and my family. And although she couldn’t predict the future, like my juvenile brain assumed she was implying, she did speak from a wealth of experience… that I was far too scared to heed.
When’s the last time you were really, really, really scared?
I was really, really, really scared for most of last night and this morning. Like, terrified. I had a really terrible meeting with my superiors at work on Friday of last week that left my job (in my mind) in jeopardy. I didn’t take the time to be afraid on Friday because I knew I would be out of the office for the weekend and had a lot of fun stuff planned. I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with it right away. But all day on Sunday, and all this morning, I’ve been trembling in fear. I’ve had the bubble guts and shaky hands. I’ve tried to guide my mind into the direction of my happy-place, but it almost instantly found its way back to my impending work troubles. What would I do without this job? I’ve never been fired from anything before, ever?! What about my resume? I didn’t have a basement to hide in…
I voiced all of my fears to my mother, as I have since the day I could speak. I told her about the bad meeting on Friday, when it happened. I whined to her on Sunday when it re-entered my mind. I sulked this morning as I got ready for the workday. She offered the same advice she did when I would be crying about a non-tornado.
“You will be fine. We will be fine.”
My mind went into the same defensive position it did when I was an 8-year-old crying about the rumbling thunder. “How can she know that?” This is all I have as an adult, after all. This is my livelihood. This is how I pay for my car and my cell phone and insurance and food and RENT! This is… everything and it’s in serious jeopardy and you’re telling me “I’ll be fine?”
So I went to work today… had the rough smack in the face with the realities of the professional world. My follow up meeting did not go as poorly as I had projected, but certainly not as well as I had projected either. When the very awkward, very tense meeting was through, I ran to my car and called my mom to report on the events. I was crying and breathing spastically. I’m sure I reminded her of my 8-year-old self. I vented my frustrations and she asked me to please just breathe.
“Kelsea. Just pray. God has gotten you through worse than this. You still have your job, plus your second job. You have me. This isn’t the end of the world. This isn’t your end-game anyway. Just take some deep breaths, and pray. Do what you need to do to get through it. You will be fine.”
I found a way to regulate my breathing and somehow (miraculously) my mascara did not obliterate my makeup. As I looked into the rear-view mirror to compose myself, I realized how much my eyes looked like my Mom’s. I had the epiphany that her incredibly strong and daring blood was running in my veins, right now. That everything I was worrying about was stuff she has already gone through and stomached. And not only could I endure it, but I could conquer it, because of WHO I am. Renee’s daughter. That I didn’t just have her eyes, or her nose, but also her resilience. I suddenly gained confidence.
I hope you and I will hold onto that same confidence in regards to our fears, everyday. That we will stand with pride in the face of our troubles because of WHOSE we are. And even if there is not Warrior-Blood running through your veins—there was innocent blood shed on your behalf. Death itself was conquered, all for the sake of your heart. Your fears are invalid because they’ve already been won. Void. Dunzo. Because ultimately, we don’t belong to this world.
So even if a tornado had torn down my childhood home and killed my family, (or Chucky came to life! AHHH!!!) or if I had been fired today…
It wouldn’t have mattered.
Our Sunday is coming. XO KB