Facing My Fear

Arnitris Strong

I stood on the banks of the murky river, looking down at the green water. I watched as my friends seemed to be enjoying themselves as they frolicked in the river. I slipped off my sandals and rubbed my feet against the lush green grass. I inhaled deeply and smelled the fragrant flowers that lined the banks. My friends called out to me, “Come on in Arnitris, you can do it.” I looked back at the friends who were content to dwell on the banks of the river.

They felt no need to dive in, or change the status quo.They wished me well, but I felt like a bit of a traitor. It would be nice if they would come along with me. However, in my heart, I knew that a whole new world awaited me. I was anxious to know what it held for me.

Lazily, I trailed my toes in the water, the bright sunshine that reflected from the river made it warm to the touch. Fingering my swimsuit cover, I mulled over the thought of diving into the warm water. It would be nice to join my friends in the deep end and float along with the current. They no longer urged me to jump in, now they were distracted with their conversations.

Slowly, I slipped out of my cover-up and instead of diving in, I sat on the banks of the river and dangled my feet in the water. I watched as an elegant swan glided by gracefully. I wondered if that swan ever doubted its beauty, if it ever second guessed its ability to glide through life so easily. Looking upon the creature, it was hard to think that was ever the case.

Instead of diving in, I eased into the river slowly. My body barely made a ripple, I stood there as my toes were massaged by the sand of the river bed. Eventually, I began to float along on my back. I gazed at the sky, the clouds made lovely shapes. I spotted a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, it was a sign.

“Wow, I thought why did I wait so long to attempt this? It really wasn’t as hard as it seemed.

As I began to swim away from the shore, the voices of my friends on the river bank were harder to hear. But, the swimming felt like familiar territory. My fear began to diminish. And just when I was feeling sure of myself the old feelings of doubt began to creep in. I could feel the presence of something looming near, but I kept my eyes on my friends telling me that it was okay to swim deeper still.

Suddenly, I felt the most excruciating pain. Something had latched onto both of my hands. I looked over just in time to see an alligator on my right threatening to take me under. The screams awakened me. It was only a dream.

It took a moment to gather myself and realize that I was in my bedroom. Longer still for my pulse and heart to regulate themselves to a normal rhythm. I sat up and began to ponder what this dream really signified. The river has to represent the unknown territory. This new time in my life is frightening. I am torn between the life that I have created for myself, and the life that I know awaits me. There is a sense of guilt as I spend less time with my old friends and more building my brand.

The alligators represent the feelings of self-doubt and inferiority. If I am not careful, those feelings can drag me under. But, I am a believer. I know that all things work for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. A few weeks ago, my mother called to tell me that everything that I have gone through in my life has been a part of the great design to shape me into the woman that I am becoming. She is excited that I am on this journey and so am I.

In just a month, I will be 40 years old. I am grateful. I feel blessed, even though I have lost many people along this journey I rejoice in the lessons they left behind. Above all, I feel expectant. For, I know the best is yet to come!


This post was syndicated with expressed permission.

Arnitris is the founding editor of Blessed be the Tie, a site dedicated to strengthening the ties that bind busy working moms and their children. When she isn't creating content, she can be found where creative adults are gathered while rocking a pair of fierce heels.