Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What Would I Do If I Was Not Afraid?

Fear is in the air we breathe today. We read fear in the newspapers and listen to it on the 5:00 news. We live in tumultuous times. We hear the evidence crashing all around us. The fear is almost tangible. This is more than a personal fear. This is a collective fear. I refuse to participate in the collective fear, for I have fears of my own.

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? I read this question last week on Michelle Ashman Bell’s blog. I have been turning it over in my mind every since. What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?

Recently I have been on a personal quest to let go of things that no longer serve me. I want to dejunk on every level. I want to let go of clutter in my home, clutter in my life, clutter in my mind, and clutter in my heart. It isn’t easy, for I have been collecting clutter for a very long time. I have bonded with my clutter. I am emotionally attached to my clutter.

When it comes to emotional clutter I have a long list negative emotions I want to get rid of. I want to let go of anger, judgment, greed, envy, doubt, pride, worry—and yes, fear, to name a few. I want them gone. I want to send them packing. These negative emotions have been with me long enough. Oh, they pretended to be my friends, giving me a false sense of security, while all the while nibbling away at my peace and contentment, but it was all for show.

What is fear? Where did it come from? What am I afraid of? What is it costing me to maintain that fear? Who would I be without that fear? These are hard questions for me. Can I examine them without turning myself inside out?

I am only vaguely aware of fear’s shadow in my life. I have pushed him in a small closet and I pretend he isn’t there. I am a good pretender. Still, a shadow is a shadow, and he can be such a nuisance. What would it be like to have him gone? Where do I begin? What tools should I acquire? Do I need a pick-axe, or a scalpel? A sword, or a razor blade?

I have been scoring small victories in my personal battle with fear. They are little things, but they are adding up and that little closet is shrinking. I would like to build something in its place. Perhaps a spacious room called hope. Perhaps a lovely suite with room for trust and confidence. I’m drawing up the plans.

Last week I had the chance of a lifetime. Friends invited us to tour the tabernacle with a friend of theirs who had restored the tabernacle organ. It was not the twenty five cent tour. It was the twenty five dollar tour. We saw things that few ever see. We saw the wind chamber that supplies the temperature and humidity controlled air that feeds the hungry organ. We saw many of the 11,000 pipes that create the amazing sound of the giant instrument. We saw the view from above, below, and behind the organ. For two hours we saw and heard the intimate details of the life of this magestic musical creature. At the end of our tour, I was given the unlikely invitation to play the organ.

Those who know me well, know that I do not play the organ. Let me say that again. I do not play the organ. I have my own reasons, some of which are more reasonable than others. I am on friendly terms with the piano, but I am really uncomfortable playing it in front of people. I teach piano, but I rarely perform. It is so far out of my comfort zone that it is on another planet.

Imagine my dilemma. I have been invited to play the tabernacle organ in front of people. I do not play the organ—not ever. I do not play in front of people—almost never. This is the chance of a lifetime. What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?

Get back shadow. Close that closet door. Close it tight. Lock it. Throw away the key. You are not in charge here.

I am happy to report that I played that organ. I did not shake. I did not clutch. I was not amazing, but I was adequate, and for a moment or two, I was not afraid. I have a photo of my mother playing that same organ. Wouldn't it be fun to place my photo next to hers. We did not have a camera with us to capture my moment, so memory’s camera will suffice. I hope my mother was watching. Perhaps she had something to do with the invitation. It wouldn't surprise me.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Linda Garner


Scarlet Knight said...

What would I do if I wasn't afraid?

Do a solo. I'm afraid of my own voice.

Alison said...

Good for you! I'm sure your mother is so proud of you! You're an amazing lady, accomplishing much in spite of your fears! Imagine what we could each accomplish if we'd stop being our own worst enemy!
Truly, my worst fear is passing on all my bad traits to my children because of my poor example...and yet, I'm too afraid to change because my bad habits HAVE become my best friends...or most constant companions, at least. I know what the blueprint is for my room of hope...if only I could have enough courage to keep building, eventhough the storms of life sometimes unravel my very foundation. Thanks for adding a brick to my building by sharing about yours! You give me hope! ;-)

LexiconLuvr said...

Linda, you write so beautifully. Everything you say ought to be framed on a wall to remind one to live life to their fullest.

I wish I could adequately describe the impact you've made in my life. I am a better, richer person for knowing you, for loving you, for being friends with you.

What would I do if I wasn't afraid? For starters, I'd sleep better at night. After that, I'd have to take a page from Scarlet and say that I'd sing out loud, with all my heart and never care what anyone else thought of it.

Linda Garner said...

My friends, you are too kind. Thanks for your loving words. They are very meaningful to me. Alison, I doubt that you have a bad trait of any sort or a weak brick anywhere in your foundation. Scarlet and Lexi, I would love to hear you sing. Love, LG.

Scarlet Knight said...

Okay, but be forewarned, I sing when my kids get into trouble. They cover their ears and beg for mercy. It's a great discipline tool. ;)

Clint Johnson said...

Hey Scarlet Knight, don't you dare miss my forum on the 21st. I promise, you'll never forgive yourself if you do. I'll forgive you, but it will be mighty hard.

Take a look at my blog post today for more information. It should be a really useful experience, and I'd love to talk to you and L.T. in person a bit afterward. Make it if you can.

Michele Ashman Bell said...

Your blog was inspiring and made me stop and think about what my own fears are preventing me from achieving. I want to follow your lead and overcome one of my fears . . . the question is, which one? Definitely worth pondering.

Scarlet Knight said...