Fear gets up


They told me to be still.

They told me to not show fear.

They told be that if I didn’t bother it, it wouldn’t bother me.

All my life, I had been told these things.

And all my life had been leading up to the day I found that all those things were a lie. And all my life had been leading up to the day I found truth in the lies.

For as long as I can remember, my biggest fear has been bees, wasps, hornets – basically anything that flies and stings. I distinctly remember a time when I was about six years old and a bee had landed on me. I was at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve walking around and a bee landed on my shirt, roughly an inch below my belly button. I screamed louder than I had ever screamed, and louder than I have ever screamed since then. Then, the bee flew away. Quite anticlimactic. But to my fragile six year old existence, the bee might as well have stung me. I was terrified. In that moment I a) knew that I was still just as afraid of bees as I had been the day before and b) hoped and (literally) prayed I would never be stung by a bee, wasp or hornet.

Roughly 12 years later, my worst nightmare became a reality. I was sitting by a campfire at Eisenhower State Park near Denison, TX and I saw it happen with my own eyes. I couldn’t do anything to stop this terror. The hornet, that in my mind looked about eight inches long, but really was probably about two or three inches, circled the ground in front of me.

Then in slow motion it came towards me.

Landed on my leg.

And stung though my leggings.

No matter that I was almost 18 years old, I was crying like a baby. You would have thought I was shot in the leg, instead of stung by a hornet, by the volume at which I was screaming.

One thought circulated in my mind: “LIES.” I had stayed still. I was fearful in my mind, but not on my face. I didn’t bother it. And I still got stung. That was when I realized how even though the advice I had gotten was a lie, it also held truth.

Fear gets up, courage stays in the chair.

Fear says, “I’m afraid and I’m leaving.”

Courage says “This might hurt, might be my worst nightmare come true, but I’m going to stay here and face it.”

Difficult classes. Rocky relationships. Troublesome bosses. Harsh hornets.

Courage or fear?