Posted by: Judy | March 18, 2020

Just Breathe

I thought I wrote this post, but apparently, I only wrote it in my head.

The world is in an uproar, panicking, losing its head.

Some perspective, in America:

More people have died from suicide.

More people have died from drug overdoses.

More people have died in car accidents.

This isn’t to mitigate the very real health risks, especially to those vulnerable. I list those things to remind myself that life holds no guarantees. For the family who lost a member to a drug overdose or suicide or accident or other disease or a tornado or other disaster, the current health crisis is no worse. Perspective.

I’ve often said that I live in fear. I hate that about myself. This gave me an opportunity for introspection with new input. I’m not afraid.

Yes, it’s close to home. I have family in Hong Kong. I have family with weakened immune systems, including me. I have numerous family members in the “red zone” population, including my father who’s over 90.

I’m not so foolish as to believe bad things couldn’t happen to me. I know better, compliments of brutal lessons. That saying about “stop worrying because most of the things you worry about will never happen,” is not true for me. I don’t worry about the things that probably won’t happen; I worry about bad things that have happened happening again.

I examine my life and remember going to work in Yellowstone alone. It was great. I went on a mission to Thailand. It separated my life: Before my mission and after my mission.

Then I had the opportunity to go to Europe, alone. This was a life-changing milestone for me.

A few days before I flew to England, the USA bombed Libya. I had a choice to make: Do I stay or do I go? I chose to go.

I prayed and boarded the flight to JFK. An airport employee gathered those deplaning from different flights and guided us to the international terminal, little ducklings following their mother outside, across a road, into another building, where she left us to fend for ourselves. I found my connecting flight to Heathrow.

Boarding the TWA flight, the flight attendants were on strike, so flight attendants from other airline companies were filling in. They were pretty laid back. We were on a jumbo jet, all 13 passengers. The flight attendants suggested we sit in the middle section. “You can each have your own row of seats and will still have rows leftover.” One attendant knelt in a seat up front and said, “I know why I’m here, but why are you flying?”

Several couples were English and returning home. One woman, with her children, was traveling to Germany to join her military husband. Then they came to me.

“This may be my only chance to go. If it’s my time to die, I’ll die no matter where I am. I might as well be doing what I want to do.”

I booked a bus tour to Scotland. It was unforgettable.

And Chernobyl blew. I watched the projected radiation cloud float over France. France was so close. I realized how silly it was to be so close and not go, so I made plans. I went.

I’ve never regretted any of it. Not a minute.

Coming home, life changed. I settled down. Working for the airline, I’d visit San Diego for the day. Okay, I’d fly to San Diego, take the bus, with one change, and spend the day in Sea World. I drove to Yellowstone, twice, with my dog. I told her we couldn’t do it a third time, unless she helped me drive. That was out, so we took shorter trips, the two of us.

Life changed again. My college education cost more than it paid. I spent the last of my savings on medical transcribing classes, via the mail. It was steady work.

I acquired a horse. He lived for five years, under my care, five years longer than expected. What an adventure.

Life changed again. 9/11 happened and “Lord of the Rings” came out. I discovered the internet and the LOTR Fan Club. I made friends.

When the second movie, “The Two Towers,” was set to release, Howard Shore, the man who wrote the movie score, gave a lecture in L.A. The lecture would be followed by the premier showing of the movie. I expressed my interest in attending. One of my online friends suggested I fly on over. I did. Someone I’d never met before picked me up at the airport. Funnily enough, we recognized each other immediately. We’ve been dear friends ever since. For several years, I’d fly over for a weekend about twice a year, for LOTR related events, like reading day and even the LOTR Symphony concert. It was during those visits when I learned to love the ocean.

I’ve flown to Texas, with another LOTR friend from Oregon. She met me, for the first time, in Phoenix, for her connecting flight. We shared a cabin and enjoyed the company of other LOTR friends, we’d never met before.

My trips to Kentucky are with more LOTR friends that I met first online.

My trip to Atlanta included a visit with friends not related to LOTR that I’ve met online.

Then there’s the whole being a published author thing.

Fear may play a daily role in my life (a larger role than I would prefer), but it doesn’t control my life. I made that decision a long time ago. I try to not do anything too stupid. I thought I allowed fear to make my decisions for me, but all I have to do is take an honest look at my life. I have made some fear-based decisions. I’m not perfect. I’ve made a lot of good — awesome — decisions in spite of the fear.

I’ve worked hard, all my life, to not allow fear to control me. I’m not changing that now. Life happens. I’m going to keep working to live happy and involved in the world.

I can’t choose what happens to me in this world. God has given me the power to choose how I respond to whatever happens to me.

I will not live in fear.


Responses

  1. “I will not live in fear.” Amen to that! Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

    • You’re most welcome. ❤


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