The bags are packed, the medical kit complete with needles and syringes tucked away between the moisture wicking clothes and an old pair of running shoes. We are ready, just as those who have gone before us and just as those that will go after us.
The concept of fear has been in my thoughts over the past month. Now, more than ever before, people have expressed fear and concern when learning about the upcoming travel to South East Asia. Perhaps, I was too naïve to notice the concern before when travelling, but Vietnam is certainly safer than Bangladesh. Perhaps, it is because when traveling to China I was in the hands of the company I was working for and in India I had family contacts in country. But, I think it is more than that. I think people’s general perception of the world around them has become more fearful. We live in a country where over the past decade political tactics have been to scare constituents into submission. Americans, once fearless and daring, have become trepadatious and untrusting. I am not ignorant to America’s position in the world – to the fact that other countries hate the idea of us. This is nothing new. We have always been disdained and criticized for having a sense of entitlement wherever we may be. Well-wishers have advised me to claim Canadian citizenship when abroad. I refuse to say I am from Canada. I am American and part of what makes me so is moving forward in the face of fear. This choice is what makes me human.
Last week, clients of Mentis had an opportunity to participate in a creative writing workshop. Within an hour the participants wrote poetry and then read aloud. The clients of Mentis are all on a road to recovery from a TBI – they are all healing physically and emotionally. They are trying to find a purpose and meaning on what is often a different path from what was expected. The words that they shared were intense and personal. It was not easy for any of them to read aloud – bearing their innermost details of their journey. But, they did it. It was admirable and inspiring. They each took a risk. They each stepped into the realm of being uncomfortable and vulnerable and did it. Daily, the clients of Mentis have to choose to keep moving forward and to keep making strides in their journey. It’s when we let fear have the final word that we stop growing. The lead boots grow heavier and the path that is our teacher must wait for us to start moving again. I challenge you to be afraid – feel the fear and then find the strength to overcome. Fear must exist in order for courage to be present.
I’m leaving my home in about 20 minutes. I’m scared of flying, but I can’t move forward without getting on that plane.