Have a Scary and Unsafe New Year

I’m thinking of all the encouragements and admonishments people tend to hand out this time of year. 
“Have a healthy New Year”

“Have a prosperous New Year”

“Have a safe and happy New Year”

That last one, which happens to be the most commonly spoken, perplexes me. What does safe have to do with happy? What if remaining safe is one guaranteed, bonafide way to keep one from experiencing happiness?

Years ago, I had a job where I dried out flooded homes. I got a call once to dry a home-based erotic massage studio for a lady who’s place had suffered a ruptured pipe. As I strode around her creepy massage studio, extracting water from the flooded carpet, I spotted a framed piece of artwork, which featured a quote at the bottom. The words were by an Eastern philosopher––a quote I’ve remembered all these years. It read, “Each day, do one thing which frightens you.” 

Sometimes, you find profound ideas in unexpected places. 

If I wish one thing this year, for myself and for each of you reading, it is that we follow the advice on the wall of that water-logged massage studio. That we would find something which frightens us––perhaps the thing that most frightens us––and do it anyway. That we would not put off doing that which we’re meant to do until we’ve managed to conquer Fear. 

For Fear, I’ve found, cannot be conquered. It can only be persevered.

This year, I intend to complete a draft of the novel I’ve been too frightened to fully commit myself to since it first invaded my mind, six years ago. To do this, I will have to endure much fear. This work doesn’t just frighten me. It scares the living shit out of me. I’m scared of letting the story down. I’m scared of ruining the damn thing. I’m scared of disappointing whomever or whatever it is that conjures these ideas and brings them to me to facilitate into words. 

But I have to do it anyway. Each day, I have to face Fear. I have to don my thick-rimmed computer glasses like a uniform, place my Round Tuit before me like a totem, and open myself to the flow. God, help me. 

I pray you, my friends, may rise up and do the same. 


2 replies »

  1. Funny, I’m listening to Switchfoot, “we were meant to live for so much more, have we lost our selves.” Hahaha, then comes Offspring “I know I’m being used, that’s ok, ’cause I like the abuse.”

    Let’s see, last year (all while at work, mind you) I fell off a two story house, bounced off the pick-up in the driveway and broke my knee cap and chipped my elbow on the concrete.
    Shot a nail through my toe.
    and sliced open my finger. 4 stitches
    In my mind, I’m kinda ready for a safer year. But doesn’t stop me from driving to Crystal on the weekends and bombing down the slopes, dodging the trees and fellow snow-goers. Can’t wait for the next huge power outage caused by a fierce ice storm. Never seen a huricane, tornado, or felt a catastrophic earthquake either. My life is half over, it’s about my turn.

    Dude! Just start writing. You’re only gonna K some A. Make it more about the achievement, not the audience. The first of anything is always about getting the first one out of the way. And you’ll never get a better 2nd one unless you finish the first one. And you know what they say, “3rd time’s the charm” For the record, I’ll read all 3, and the ones after that.

    James 1:2-4 and 5 for that matter.

  2. You can do it. I took over five years to complete my novel. One reason was I got sick but that was really an excuse. I had the same fears you that I wasn’t good enough and I couldn’t write the story well. I finally finished it and edited it over and over, and believe, it or not I am satisfied with what I accomplished. Now to get it published and work on book two in the series. So work on it and get it done. All the best in 2016.

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