The Need To Embrace Fear

In theory by 10 PM Tuesday night I’ll have answers to some very important questions and none of them have to do with what happens to Jack on This Is Us.

Don’t mistake that for snark because I enjoy the show but it is just a show and his fate isn’t why my stomach is in knots.

Even if the answers I get are the very best and of the sort that lead to bigger and better there are some other big ones that demand my attention.

And so my friends I find myself in that place where I look at the universe and ask if I am supposed to be afraid and offer to embrace it.

The answer to those of you keeping score at home is your damn right I am a lot nervous and a little bit skeered.

Ask some of the famous folk and they’ll tell you it is impossible to be brave if you are not scared but I’d be happy to not have to be either.

The Worst Thing

When I was a wee lad my father used to take this moment and ask me to imagine “what is the worst thing that can happen?”

It is a fine parenting trick and one I have used more than once but let’s be straight, when you have an imagination like it is easy to come up with something horrifying.

I know because I have and not just when I was little.

But with the benefit of age and experience I know the chances of the worst thing I can imagine are low but that doesn’t negate the potential for some other awful stuff.

I know from experience.

Experience is also why I am confident that if awful comes to visit I will find a way to manage just as I always have.

That is the ugly beauty of having confronted awful, you know what it can be like and that you can get through it.

But that doesn’t make it any easier.

You don’t survive dancing in a fire while someone pours gasoline on your head without screaming because it hurts.

Granted if you are an ornery cuss like me you might refuse to scream when certain people are around, but you will scream.

And sometimes you won’t know whether you are screaming in anger, pain or both.


I want to say all that is hyperbole, but I won’t because none of it is. I have been to those places and though I know it wasn’t because of me it hasn’t ever stopped me from occasionally wondering what if I had done a few things differently.

Most days I don’t bother because I can’t go back and even if I could, well I don’t know I want to anymore.

That is the beauty of growth.

The Power Of Words

I am not sure if I had ever seen that Neruda quote before last night, but if I had it didn’t resonate with me.

It does and it is now so I have placed it upon the page where I can see and think about it some more.

Last week someone complained again about my not speaking enough. Their issue made me smile because more than one person has teased me about being long winded.

But as I grow older I find less use for words with most people and am far more selective about when, where and with whom I will share them.

Silence has become a good friend and in some situations a valuable ally.

Tomorrow I intend to sit and listen and see if I can discern motives and desire before responding.

I want to see what happens when I sit with a soft smile, relaxed position and silence. Will it push them to share and say more than they would otherwise do?

I don’t know but I am prepared to find out.

As I said to my oldest, “sometimes you have to use some strateegery in life. Old Sweetcheeks might knows a trick or six.”

He told me he has heard me use “strateegery” a time or two but didn’t like me referring to myself as Sweetcheeks.

“Dad, that is kind of gross. I want to bleach my eyes.”

I laughed and told him not to use the “I want to bleach my eyes” line without prior permission from me.

“Sweetcheeks is an old joke, it isn’t really about me…or is it.”

Cue evil laughter.


Two recent conversations remind me about how interesting interpersonal communication is to me.

One was a struggle from start to finish.

We had nothing in common and no amount of effort to find something to bridge the gap seemed to work. It was as exhausting as wading through mud that was neck deep and twice as frustrating.

If I said the sky was blue the response was that blue isn’t a color, the sky isn’t really the sky and if only I spoke proper English I would know this.

The second was the opposite.

It was effortless and I didn’t have to spend copious amounts of time trying to confirm they understood what I said, what I meant and what I was talking about.

The Ghost Of Monty Hall

Tomorrow I shall dance with the Ghost of Monty Hall and pick a door to open and walk through.

Tomorrow I’ll get some answers and hope they are what I am looking for and not what I want to run from.

I tell the kids with some regularity there are things you can’t run or hide from. Things that require our attention and it is better to try to take them head on our terms than to wait for later.

But I also tell them we don’t always get to choose the time and place or the terms.

Sometimes you have to stand your ground and meet whatever is coming when it comes and not later.

My stomach is on fire and the only good thing about this nervous energy is I had a great workout. Now it is time to close up shop for the evening and visualize success.

If I can’t do that because my mind refuses to shut down I’ll embrace my fear and jump off the cliff while it is wrapped in my arms.

Guess I better hope one of us has a parachute.

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