My youngest daughter, Mila, is scared by loud noises. Today we stopped at a water park in Ohio. We are making our way from Illinois to Connecticut to visit her birth parents and thought staying a night at a water park would be the perfect reprieve. In our room, the girls were happily putting their swimsuits on and couldn’t wait to get downstairs to begin swimming. We walked toward the water park and as the automatic doors opened to allow us entry we were met by the playful sounds of kids playing and splashing in the varous pools. Unfortunately, those sounds in the enclosed space echoed in Mila’s ears as she fiercely clung onto me. I tried to set her down in the water and she angrily repeated no, no, no at me. The fun of the park had been hijacked by its noise and her joy had been replaced by fear.
On our 5-hour drive I listened to Rob Bell’s podcast, Robcast, and his discussions with Glennon Doyle Melton and Elizabeth Gilbert. By the time we hit Ohio I was in full “I’m changing my life” mode. This wasn’t a four hour discovery though. In fact, it’s been happening for the last three years as I’ve thought about how my life can be more about serving others and helping those in need, both physically and spiritually. The problem has been that I’m scared to make the step. I’ve wondered what I could do and what I would want to do and never actually done anything. Its only been thoughts as the “perfect situation” hasn’t appeared. And now, years later I’ve realized I need to make that step. Like Mila, the fun of life had been hijacked by its noise and my joy had been replaced by fear.
I held Mila and continued to tell her that she was okay. I set her down in the water and as she cried and yelled I stood by her and made sure she didn’t feel alone. Eventually, we found a quieter place in the hot tub which cuased her grasp around my body to ease. She slowly released her hands and played with the water and then shouted, “Bubbles!” I’d like to say that once she calmed down that we were able to play at other parts of park, but that’s not how it is. That’s not how our lives are either. Fear doesn’t just go away. It’s always there, especially when trying something new. But when you have others around you (family, friends, God) letting you know that you’ll be okay and you’re not alone, that’s when you need to step out in faith and explore something new in your life.
Justin Elder is a managing editor at nonpropria.com. His loves include iPads, Disney World and of course his two daughters and wonderful wife. If you can’t catch him at home binge watching on Netflix or an NBA game, he’s most likely playing with the girls in the backyard.