In 2016 Terry and I were enjoying an evening at the park with our just-turned-one year-old grandson. Suddenly a dog got loose from its owner and raced by me, the leash wrapping around my leg, throwing me to the ground unconscious and bleeding. I had always loved dogs and parks and evening strolls. But now I was fearful of dogs and didn’t ever want to return to the park.
I recalled that after a car wreck when I was 18, my mother would not allow me to quit driving. She assured me that I would have to get back on the road sooner rather than later. Thank goodness she did. I once was volunteering to drive folks to the polls to vote and encountered a woman who had had a similar experience in her teens. She never drove again. How limiting! I did not want to cripple myself in that way.
So I knew after the episode with the dog that I needed to conquer my fear. I searched quotes about fear. I wrote in my journal and posted on Facebook as a way to process that trauma. And in due time I acclimated to being around dogs and I did go back to the park.
A poem endures in my memory that addresses this very situation:
“I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which came to me as a seed goes to the next as a blossom and that which came to me as a blossom, goes on as fruit.”—Dawna Markova
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: “We must travel in the direction of our fear.”—John Berryman