Security or opportunity?

Out of the walls and through the gate:  Amy goes exploring with me in Ypres (Ieper) Belgium, one March evening in 2007

Out of the walls and through the gate:
Amy goes exploring with me in Ypres (Ieper) Belgium, one March evening in 2007

“There is no security on this earth.  Only opportunity.” General Douglas MacArthur

“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity; they seem more afraid of life than of death.”James F. Byrnes

There’s nothing like watching or reading the news to create feelings of insecurity.  Violence erupts all over the globe, and some stories will be endlessly repeated, as if to milk every bit of air time possible out of the chapters and verses of the unfolding tales of evil.  But there is really no place to go that is completely secure, and even if you’re locked up tight in the self-imposed prison of your home, illness and injury can strike you there as well.

I’m one of those people who gets defiant when threatened.  The more dangerous the outside world sounds, the more determined I am not to shrink from it in fear.  The interesting thing is, I think this attitude makes me safer than if I was always running from my own shadow.  And even if boldness does not make my life safer, at least it’s way more interesting to be out there exploring than hiding in a closet someplace.  I take plenty of common-sense precautions, but I don’t cancel trips or avoid going downtown because of scary things I hear on the news.

Whether your worst fears are of physical danger or psychological intimidation, I wish for you the boldness to face squarely whatever it is that terrifies you.  You may need courage to make travel plans, make a speech or make a new friend, but the rewards of overcoming the paralysis of anxiety are many and self-sustaining.  And you’ll be bolstered by the discovery that there are plenty more friendly people than unfriendly ones.  We’re out here, waiting to meet you!

30 Comments

  1. Is it the paralysis of anxiety that has me awake at this hour, and on my knees? Perhaps. During the vigils of my life, I reflect on the psychological intimidation present in Gethsemane. There have been times I have not ventured forth beyond the confines of the walled city. But each one of those times is probably equaled by the attempt to turn back from a course that looked way more interesting at the outset, but that proved to become more insecure than originally anticipated. I believe there have been courageous – even those defiantly so – individuals who have always been able to retrace their steps down a mountain path that just became too steep; and to find a more lengthy, maybe even more tedious, route to their desired destination. Oh, that we knew the ends before the beginnings!

    • Eric, I wrote a long reply to this that somehow vanished, and I’m out of time. Short version: your comment reminds me of the Donner Party, and yes, there are times when changing course is the only prudent decision. But most of the people I know well have more problems with being overly cautious. I tend to be far too much like the one-talent man in the parable.

  2. Carlyle

    Julia,
    I echo your thoughts on facing fear. My career as a pilot was prompted by my fear of flying. Surprised ?

    • Daddy, yes I am surprised about flying, although I have long suspected I inherited my tendencies toward anxiety from you. I certainly didn’t get them from Mom, that’s for sure. As we’ve often discussed, anxiety can be a good thing if it’s handled appropriately and does not become an obstacle (see my reference to the one-talent man in the reply to Eric’s comment).

  3. Mike Bertoglio

    Reminds me of the quote,” Everyone dies but not everyone lives.”
    Most of my anxiety revolves around new technology and the need to have the latest and greatest. I have a dumb phone and am terrified of I-phones and all those new fangled inventions. I am embarrassed to be seen in public texting on my flip phone at two lines per minute.

    • Mike, I say a hearty “amen” to all the things you mention, except that in my case it’s not anxiety, but stubborn refusal to buy into something new just because it’s the hot thing. In other words, I am sort of a reverse snob about such things, which I realize is not a good way to be either, but I have no plans to get a smart phone anytime soon! And why should I use a tiny phone to type text messages with my thumbs when I can do about 80 wpm on a computer?

  4. i’m not surprised that you stand in david’s shoes and fight goliath!
    may your day be an encouraging one.

    thinking of you and jeff,
    lisa/z

    • Thanks Lisa, today has been good; updates to come, but suffice it to say that we are tired, but very thankful tonight. Thanks for being here!

      • another friend had a procedure done today, and she has now cleared the last hurdle and is dashing toward the home stretch. july will be the next appt but so far all tests look great.

        have a great night’s sleep. you surely need it! z

        • I am so happy your friend is doing well! I do appreciate your heart for people facing challenges. I think I found you through your wonderful post about your brother. I will try to sleep well tonight although it will be on a sofa in the ICU waiting room! 🙂 But better than our own bed a couple of nights ago! Thanks so much for being here.

  5. From Eric: I feel a lot less “full of anxiety”, just 15 hours later!

    • Yes Eric, we all have much for which to be thankful for tonight!

  6. I was so happy to read your news on coming home tonight. Can’t wait to hear the details. The way you boldly approach things has taught me much and though I never manage to attempt as much as you I have often done things because of your example and then I am sooo proud of myself. This trip was one of the most fun I had while in Europe. I loved that Ypres area and took Stephen back later. I also loved our trip to France to find Joan of Arc’s home. That was a wonderful day as well, another inspiring lady. Take care. Keep being brave. Love you.

    • Amy, thanks so much. You are a star in so many of my very favorite memories. One of my favorites that I love to tell people about is the time I became a waitress at Cracker Barrel for about 60 seconds to surprise you on your birthday in Colorado when we had not seen each other for 11 years! We have Fran to thank for that one, she did a brilliant job of putting it all together and it was a blast. May our families have many more fun years together. Thanks so much for your steadfast prayers and ever-present help.

  7. Sheila

    Julia, just in the words I have read, I know that prayers are answered! We went to dinner and I was telling Bill what I know, as far as today’s schedule. That sofa may provide more rest and comfort than you ever thought possible. Our prayers cross the miles because God put us in each others lives in our time of need. Sheila and Bill

    • Thanks so much Sheila, for walking this road with us. I will be sending out an email update soon. Thanks so much for keeping us in your prayers; you are in mine too!

      • Sheila

        Rest well tonight,both of you!

  8. It’s better to take the risk than running away from it. Yes, we lose a lot of opportunities just due to the fear of facing it. Thank you for the reminder and inspiration, Julia!

    • You’re welcome! I think teachers have to be pretty fearless 🙂

  9. Big hugs to you!

    • Thanks so much, I love cyber hugs! I have really missed being able to go exploring in everyone’s blogs. I hope I will have some time to do more of that when Jeff is out of the hospital and well on the way to recovery. Meanwhile, thanks for being here!

  10. Truth, I’m a little bit of a scaredy cat. Not so much of physical things, more like the psychological things. Usually working myself into an unnecessary tither. Like the unknown more than the known. I rely on the hubby to remain calm. I’ve suffered from a nervous tummy my whole life. As a kid I’d always be a wreck at Christmas and Birthdays just from excitement. I think it’s a little bit genetic, my dad was also a worrier too

    • I definitely think anxiety is a genetic thing; the “nervous stomach” is evident in my family over several generations, though it does not affect all the people in the family. I can really identify with relying on the hubby to remain calm, especially over the years when one of the boys would get hurt and I would be freaking out and wanting to call 911 and he would just snap at me and say “calm down and let’s see where the bleeding is coming from” and sometimes it was something relatively minor but terrifying in appearance. It’s odd that most of the people I know who have anxiety about some things are fearless about others. I guess we all balance each other out. I do think anxiety can be beneficial if we use it to motivate ourselves to reasonable caution.

  11. very good read ..thanks for sharing dear 🙂

    • You’re welcome! I am so happy you like it.

      • Yes you always share some insight into things dear..have a wonderful weekend ! I am off for sailing lesson this week ..one item from my bucketlist 🙂

        • How wonderful! Hope you enjoy it. Here’s a post about sailing in case you missed it.

          • oh nice I would read it for sure .thanks for sharing this dear Julia 🙂

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