Stand up or get off the train

Thank you Krista for featuring this post on your blog, it’s an honour to be invited into your journey. You can find Krista’s blog here: Words to Heal the Pain.

We were somewhere in the middle of a 17-hour train ride in India. It was more economical than a flight to our next destination, and besides, who doesn’t want to lock themselves in a tube of foreign culture complete with poorly-maintained, sticky-floored squatty potties?

I steadied my feet on the bouncing floor, held on to the door handle and popped my head out to take in the sight of lush green foliage and tiny specks of field workers. India constantly delivered a feeling of paramount beauty sprinkled with a hint of something could really go wrong here. It was perfect. During those minutes I stood gazing out of the train car, the thought ran through my mind, if something really were to go wrong right now, I would be okay. The realization was accompanied by a wave of peace that settled over my bones – I felt the most alive I have maybe ever experienced feeling.

What allowed for the peace and aliveness in that moment was the absence of fear. I have rarely before or after felt so okay with life being out of my control. Instead I have felt like I’m standing on a train car grasping the handle with two hands, and maybe wrapping a leg around for good measure. I’m too busy planning for all the things that may happen before the next stop to lift my head and catch the reflections of a beautiful world.

What I’m saying is, I’m scared.

Fear has grown slowly and steadily over the past few years. I’m realizing that I have darting, nervous eyes when I walk alone to my car; in the back of my mind I think that I’m bound to get sick; I count on facing a sudden giant roadblock in life; I am scared of encountering another traumatic situation or being required to have enough energy to handle something else big and painful.

This is no way to live. Even if these things may happen, the fear will suck dry every moment of good had before or after.

The only time I will know whether or not something bad will happen in the future is when my life is over. There is no possible way to live if I want to know what happens next before I’m there. It is imperative that I choose to fight fear.

It hit me this week, as I got caught up in all the good things ahead for Adam and I, that though I have lived for two and a half years subtly guided by a sense that something bad is going to happen, only surprising, couldn’t-be-planned-by-me, unexpectedly brilliant things have happened.

I can’t help but feel like I’ve missed the full impact of those things in the moment because of fear – however, I refuse to let the f-word keep me in fetal position any longer. I am lifting one finger at a time from the handrail. I am standing up tall and steadying my feet for a better view. I am holding on for the ride, whatever it brings – hopefully this time not a case of heavy food poisoning and a bomb scare, but then again, those are the things that make a 17-hour Indian train ride more epic than other train rides.

I’m going for epic.

The daily reminder on our headboard!

4 thoughts on “Stand up or get off the train

  1. A program that has helped me says that at times FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. It helps me to ask myself that at times. Really inspired by youe blog. Thanks for sharing, Aunt Gerry.

  2. Jennelle, I am grateful to be allowed to see what has gone on inside of you these last few years. I remember how after my mother died, I was afraid John was going to die. When loved ones die it brings us face to face with the reality that life is not predictable. You had an extra strong dose because you were so close to your Mom. I’m feel proud of you for determining not to let fear control you and am confident you will succeed. I am excited for the future for you and Adam. You have what it takes to build a wonderful life.

    1. Thank you Mom Dippel! These words really helped to secure my ambition about living above the fear. It’s nice to know that you’ve been there and to hear it’s a normal reaction to loss. Thank you for all of your support! XO

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