When Telling Your Story is a Scary Thing and It’s Just Easier Not to

Jacinda's scrollwork

Kathy O, who lived 5 doors down the street, would, when things weren’t going her way, pack up all the dresses she’d brought for dress-ups and head home, leaving the rest of us sitting there. That’s just how she was.

Why am I thinking about her today? Now?

I’ve been picturing Lewis & Clark, looking west,
about to head off to places they’ve never been,
not knowing in advance the full distance,
how long it might take,
what may be required of them.

I would have been dead weight on that expedition, what with bears and mud and weather and needing to lift boats and supplies and carry the whole shebang around waterfalls. Traveling upstream! And not speaking the language of so many they encounter.

I would not have said yes
(not that I would have been invited).

I’m forced to face this truth about myself. I would not have gone. I’d have hunkered down in my cabin, stayed put and let someone else go.

I shiver, just thinking about that journey, and I think I know why.
That same fear is close to me, not far. Not 2 centuries ago.

I, too, stand on a frontier, like most of us do at least once in our lives. We stand, and what lies ahead is a frontier to us. We don’t know what we’re heading into. We might have ideas about it. We may have heard bits and pieces from what others said they thought they saw when they were out there, or what they heard someone else say, but really we don’t know for sure what’s out there, what we’ll face.

We don’t know about it
and we don’t know about ourselves,
whether we have what it takes.

It becomes clear me, when I visit the Lewis & Clark exhibit and I feel the slug in me resisting, saying, “NO WAY I’d sign up for that” that I see where I truly am, standing on my own frontier, weighing the inconvenience of it all and leaning toward staying home by the fire with a cup of tea.

I see this about myself, that I’m all for someone else making the trip and I’ll come to a museum and learn all about it. But blaze the trail, me?
Would I be willing to be that inconvenienced and discomforted?
Am I willing now, on my own frontier?

Or will I, like Kathy O, choose to pack up my story and take it home?

And if I do, who will I be leaving out there all alone, to shiver in the cold?
I keep thinking about that father at the cookout.

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
This entry was posted in comfort zone, fear, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to When Telling Your Story is a Scary Thing and It’s Just Easier Not to

  1. pastordt says:

    What father at the cookout?? Now I’m hooked and you better tell me more. (I wouldn’t have gone, either, honey. No way, no how.)


  2. Cindy B says:

    Someone has to stay home and keep the home fires burning. And where and who would the venturers come home to if we all went out adventuring?

    I too am not an adventurer; by the same token I am also not a writer, a poet, a rocket scientist, a warrior, a seamstress, a coal miner, or any of a number of other things. I am me and I do what I do. There are times I wish I had other talents and maybe I could work on them or maybe I should just be the best me that I can.


  3. Marcy says:

    Often I think of the frontier women and the lives they had to leave, the fears they had to face. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your stories!


  4. Juliana says:

    Marilyn – you have some serious gifts when it comes to sharing your story and setting captives free. And as much as you talk about not being an adventurer you have been. It may not look like Lewis and Clark and that’s no matter. An adventurer is someone with courage, someone who wants to change the world, someone who is willing to experience their experiences and allow themselves to be changed in the process. You have those qualities. You experience your experiences, you allow God to use them to change you and refine you, and have the courage to share them and in doing so, change the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. annkroeker says:

    It’s so much easier to play it safe. It’s so much cozier in the comfort zone. Some people are natural adventurers, natural risk takers; others of us are more reticent, risk aversive. What might seem like a super-fun outing to the former group is a walk of faith for the latter.

    If that were a continuum, I tend toward reticent. I need to take steps of faith sometimes. I hope you do, too, Marilyn, toward whatever it is that seems so large and looming ahead of you.


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