A popular bumper sticker says NO FEAR. I don't know for sure what it means. I see it all over. Maybe it's a line of clothing or a record label or something. I laud the sentiment and the determination it expresses. But we all have fears, and how we deal with them shows the world what we're made of. Our integrity, our priorities, and yes our courage, are all on display in how we deal with fear.
One of my deepest and most unreasonable fears is public speaking. I get so riled up that I vomit. But I am a mouth, and so from time to time, being a mouth on stage falls to me. The last time was not recently. I was asked to address a citizens' meeting in Texas. The issue was a big cement plant, and the cancer clusters that mysteriously kept popping up downwind. There were over a thousand people in the auditorium. I was the keynote speaker. My hands were sweaty, and I really thought I might pass out. Then my name was announced, and I heard applause. It was time. I took a deep breath and strode onstage, grinning from ear to ear and applauding myself, with my hands in the air. I walked back and forth on the stage, clapping. When the applause started to die down I pumped my hands and brought them to their feet. I went to the microphone and called out, "Keep applauding! Applaud yourselves! Do you know what you have achieved by being here? Turn to the guy next to you! Applaud him!" Finally it got quiet, and I gave a pretty good grassroots-organizer speech. It went well.
That was a good way to handle my fear in that instance. I have other fears, which I don't always handle so well. But more and more, I see that bumper sticker: NO FEAR.
I will fear. I know this. You fear. We all fear. How do we handle our fears? How do they hold us back and how do they preserve us? How do they propel us forward? I am interested in ideas, YOUR ideas.