A couple weeks ago my family went up to a cabin in Northern Minnesota for the weekend with my cousins. The cabin was right on a lake, so one afternoon, we decided to take a pontoon tour of the lake and then go swimming a little ways out (as opposed to the weedy area near the dock). I was pumped. I love swimming, and I was excited for a nice relaxing boat ride too.
When the tour was done, it was time to swim. I smiled as I buckled up my life-jacket (my cousin convinced us all it would be more fun to swim with them) and watched my brothers and cousins jumping off the back of the boat. My smile faded a little; was I going to do that? Pretty soon, everyone was in the water except me. But I couldn’t jump. Something as easy and as simple and as non-threatening as jumping off the boat–plunging into the water–and I couldn’t do it. I made a fuss for about 10 minutes (in standard dramatic fashion, of course :) ), and then I finally made myself do it. I jumped. And guess what? It was no big deal, of course. I had a blast swimming, of course. They practically had to pull me out of the water when it was time to go.
That’s how I feel about traveling and even change so often. When it’s distant, when we’re just cruising ahead on calm water, it seems fine, exciting. As it gets closer, anticipation builds. Yet when the time finally comes, when it’s time to finally buckle up the life jacket and jump in, I freeze. I start to think, “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” Apprehension builds and fear kicks in.
But as soon as I’m in the water, as soon as I get past the initial dive, I find out it’s not so bad after all, the water’s fine. But that still doesn’t diminish the fear the next time I have to jump.
Sometimes we have to do the thing we fear the most… Because that may be the thing that stretches us the most–the thing that causes us to grow and to push ourselves further than we ever have before. The thing that causes us to learn and to become better.
People keep telling me how brave I am to travel and to study abroad. I don’t feel brave. In fact, I feel a little scared. But maybe, it’s taking that first step that counts, even if it means going out in fear….Because God only knows the adventures, experiences, and memories that lie ahead.