Facing Fear, Every Day

I was out driving today and I saw a man crossing the street. No big deal, right? Except this man was blind. Watching the traffic all stopped obediently at the lights, watching him calmly cross the street and then meet his bus… the scene really gave me pause.

Just think about all the systems he trusted to be in place and to keep him safe: the cars respecting the traffic lights, the beeping which indicated he could cross at that corner at that moment, his cane with the white tip indicating his visual challenge… all these systems and probably more all working at the same time to keep him safe while he ventured out into the world.

I turned 50 this year and I’ve noticed that as I’ve been getting older, fear is becoming more of a companion than I’ve been aware of in younger years. Perfectly able, perfectly (well, almost perfectly) sighted, and yet I am beginning to fear some things: fear of other people’s driving (and sometimes my own capabilities), fear of my sons out living their lives, fear of losing those I love, and so on. Like poker chips dropped onto the green felt table, bit by bit fear is mounting in my heart and I am so very aware of its presence and my need to not allow it to close down my world.

Which is why watching the blind man cross the street caused me to pause so much today. He appeared older than I. And yet every day he wakes up, and he overcomes the reasonable fear he must feel living blind in a sighted world. He faces down his fear, every day. I find that impressive.

“Walking through your fear makes you stronger. It makes you able to walk through other fears. It gives you courage. It gives you faith that there are bigger powers in the world than your fear. When you walk through fear, you… become a bigger power than the fear. It is its own medicine in the end.”

—Richard Wagamese, Him Standing

Trudy is an Integral Coach based in Ottawa. You can read more of her writing here