I woke up early this morning to fly home. While at the airport, I overheard a woman chatting with a young woman about her upbringing. The older woman, we’ll call her Shirley, was kind enough to give the younger woman her number and said she could call her if she was in town again.
Wow. Rarely have I seen something so gracious.
Then, when I boarded the plane, Shirley was two seats away from me in the same row. Right before take off Shirley said, “I don’t like sitting next to the window, you should have gotten an aisle seat. ” I told her I liked the window seat because I enjoy looking out of the window. Then, Shirley asked me to hold her hand.
Shirley was afraid of flying. She was so afraid that she told everyone she met they shouldn’t sit in the window seat.
When it was time for takeoff, she was holding my right hand and the gentleman across the aisle’s left hand. At some point, rather than stretching across the seats (there was an empty seat between Shirley and I) we all sat together. That way, Shirley could hold both of our hands. I’m glad we could be there to hold her hands as she faced her fear of flying.
On Wednesday, I read a new story to my students. The title of the story was The Monster Who Grew Small. The closer the boy got to the monster, the smaller the monster became. Everyone in the town talked about the monster yet no one had seen it. They even created images in their minds of how the monster might look. The fear paralyzed them. They were hungry, unhappy, and lived in a constant state of fear. At the end of the story, when the townspeople learned that the monster was as small as a frog and no monster at all, a little girl asked, “what’s his name?.” He said, “I have many names but the most pitiful of them all call me What Might Happen.”
We spend a lot of time worrying about what might or might not happen. Fear keeps us from facing the monster in front of us. The monster seems huge but really there is no monster at all.
How many times have you meditated on what might happen? How many times have you sabotaged an opportunity because you couldn’t get past your fears?
I’m in a situation I’m trying to surmount right now. Several actually… and I’m in a constant battle with fear. What might happen? How could it affect me? What will change? All the while, I am walking away from glory instead of walking towards it.
Well, I have decided to confront my fears. I will not be controlled by them and I won’t waste time wondering what might happen. Shirley faced her fears and so can you. The boy in the story faced his fears and so can you.
Face your fears today and watch them get smaller.
*If you’re interested in reading The Monster Who Grew Small, this story can be found in the 3rd grade Junior Great Books collection.