I had my first kiss when I was 11 years old. We were a few days into the new school year and I was already enjoying the endless possibilities that could be the structure and highlight of my middle school experience. I was amongst hundreds of students I had never before met, and that to me was exciting. A girl will never forget her first kiss, even if it wasn’t as Mia describes it in The Princess Diaries. I’ve never forgotten mine, but for reasons other than most would presume. It was on September 11th, 2001, one of the biggest turning points in US history. There have been times when I’ve looked back on that day with disappointment in my younger self for not feeling more. I should’ve been gathered in front of the television set like I remember my parents and most of the world were, but I was outside with my best friend, and I was about to have my very first kiss.
I’ve tried my very best to avoid the news, (interestingly enough even after having studied how to “do the news”), but I find that it’s delivery is simply unescapable. Nothing about the news makes me happy, especially in the last few years. So in order to keep the good vibes going, I made a conscious effort to not read or watch the news, this way I wouldn’t know what’s happening and thus, I wouldn’t be scared.
In light of the most recent attacks in the U.K. and the tumult felt around the world, I feel it’s important for me to come clean and admit that I am scared. I’m terrified. There have been times where I’ve convinced myself to just standby and watch as everyone continues to run the race called life. And other days, with high nerves and tears in my eyes, I take my mark and go. Lately I find myself carefully planning my journey, as if I can somehow keep myself safe. In just a few days time I’ll be headed back to the States. I’ve been excited about this for months now. I’ll confess to having contemplated which places I’ll cross off my itinerary, shifting dates and exchanging places that I’ve dreamt about returning to, places that once seemed familiar, in exchange for a safer but lonely world. Statistically, we are more likely to experience suffering from a car accident than we would a terrorist attack, yet we all get in our cars everyday. I know this, yet I retreat to my half-done strategy. Going back to this drawing board is exhausting, unreliable, and if I followed this carefully thought out route, I wouldn’t be showing up for life. I wouldn’t see my friends or family, I wouldn’t go back home, and I wouldn’t see the world and it’s goodness.
I’ve been mad at that clueless 11-year-old girl for some time now. When I ask myself what on earth was I thinking, I’m humbled by my answer. I was excited for life. I was bold, fearless and I had faith like a child. I want to be like that again, even if I’m a little scared, I want to show up for the things that give my life meaning. Fear cannot be the driving force for the plans we make, rather hope and love should be the driving force for all that we do. I want to cling to God and put all of my trust in Him. Perhaps with trembling hands, still, I hope you will too.
Photo via Anton Repponen