A few months ago, I was having what I call a “kitchen memory making moment” with my friend Felicia and she said something quite simple but overwhelmingly impacful that I’ve been thinking about it over and over again and of course had to share.
Now before we really delve into this, to clarify, kitchen memory making moments are those that involve the sisterly intimacy that occurs between two friends over cooking, baking, having tea, dessert-really just breaking bread together- that leads to some significant life lessons that can only happen between sisters, mothers and daughters, aunties and nieces….you get the drift. For some of us, our very first of these memories only involved a chair next to the stove that held that hot comb and behind which our moms operated with precision, strength and tenderness that only they could…. and I’ve already digressed.
Felicia is really like a spiritual mom to me, who, because she’s so youthful and really, just cool, I forget that she’s a real grown up and end up looking to her as my sister more often than not. We had the chance to spend some extended time together which involved a great late night conversation during which she shared something really significant that she had experienced. I was really in awe and overwhelmed by the grandeur of what she was sharing about this experience, in a good way, because it was literally out of this world. After she shared, I asked, “how were you not afraid?” to which she
just said, super casually too as if to say “well yes, the sky is blue”:
“Oh, I’ve been through too much to be afraid of anything.”
Eleven power-packed words that imply so much. Really three things stood out for me.
1-You really have to experience some unpleasant, if not downright horrible, things in life in order to actually get through them.
2-When you face said things, at the end of the day, there is a truth
that consistently comes to light: you’re going to get through it, come
hell or high water….or both.
3-Because of both of these truths, you can ALWAYS stand fearless
because once you’ve encountered a challenge, any really, you know
you’re going tog et through it, so really, what’s the point of fear?
It really boils down to just being wasted energy.
It really got me thinking about how I always say how grateful I am for the challenges that I’ve experienced. I really do believe challenges are what really define you. Now forget your political affiliation or how you feel about President and First Lady Obama (side note: how I wish people would acknowledge them this way….I don’t really recall anyone ever saying “well you know, Bill and Hilary” or “George and Laura”…just saying), when she said “I’ve learned that being president doesn’t determine who you are, it reveals who you are,” that really made it plain and simple. Challenges reveal your inner strength, the reality of how committed you are to your values, the value you place on your integrity, and the level of integrity you will maintain through hell and highwater…or….yup, both! So yes, I’m grateful for all of it because for me, I learn so much about what I can handle, what I think I can’t and then actually do; and for me, most importantly, as one who really is committed to a relationship with my Maker, yes God, how committed He is to me. I actually just think it’s all pretty cool.
I realized a gap though…for me. Although I’m grateful for all of it, I’ve never really gotten to step two, accepting the truth that I really will always get through. Now don’t get me wrong, I truly have gotten that intellectually; I’ve believed in that spiritually, but boy how I have allowed residence for worry, fear, anxiety when I’ve faced new challenges. I am human and I know that this is part of that, but if I really am grateful for the challenges, I’ve experience, my gratitude needs to be elevated to a gratitude for the knowledge and belief that I’m always going to get through.
So here’s the difference, from a personal story: earlier this year, I found a lump. I honestly was never afraid but knew I had to be responsible with my health, do my due diligence and get checked out. Even after I went in for the exam and they had me waiting in the room with about three other women who were clearly either going through chemo or in remission, I honestly was still just fine….just going through procedure….and even had the fearless audacity to be checking work emails and answer some! Then one of the women turned to me and asked if this was my first time, pointing out that I seemed too young to be in there…she thought I was actually seven years younger than I am (yup….insert me doing my fabulously fierce dance right here). Then she was called in and looked at me as she got up and said “well, good luck sweetie.” That’s when my heart did drop just a bit. Yes, I was shook, actually thinking for the first time, “wow, there is a possibility this might not go well…that is actually possible.”
Then to make matters even worse, I was called in to the screening room…again…as the technician (I don’t really know what they’re called) said, “the doctor wants a second image for a better look at something she thinks she might see”. Ummmmm, yes residence offered: fear,anxiety, worry, they took a seat. Now here’s the Felicia Brown difference…residency for this triad would not have been offered up. Not to say that there would be no concern, but it would be managed and limited to concern instead of worry fear and anxiety because I’d own the truth that whatever this turns out to be, I’m getting through…just need to wait and see what I’m actually going to be dealing with, but either way, I’m the one dealing or managing the circumstance, not the circumstance dealing with me. Again, I’m getting through. Just to close the loop on this, I’m totally fine and it all turned out to be nothing…AMEN!
Now, here’s the final piece. In order for us to really be as fabulous as we’re meant to be, to live up to our own level of fierceness, we’ve got to be fearless…in everything. We don’t have to be naïve or downright stupid to reality with it’s challenges, but we have to allow for responsible, mature, level-headed concern in the face of challenges without letting fear settle in to psyche us out and limit the experiences of positive grandeur like Felicia Brown. We’ve got to be fabulously fierce by being fearless!
Soundtracks of the week:
Kirk Franklin: Hello Fear and Don’t Worry
Funny, I own these songs and have heard them a million times over because I really like them, but it wasn’t until just now, as I’m writing this and they “just happen” to play on my genius play list that I actually listened to the words. Isn’t it cool how He just set everything up. Anyhoo, really encourage you to listen to them.