“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
Oh, and the insane raccoon in the garage.
Tuesday night started off like any other weekday evening. I got home from work around 7:30pm. My wife and I ate dinner, watched TV (“New Girl” is back!), and then we begrudgingly continued the month-long cleanathon at our house. Like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft exploring a forgotten temple, we’ve been digging through disheveled closets over the past few weeks to purge old junk and organize less-old junk to make room for two babies and all their fly gear. That really just means that we’ve moving lots of stuff to the garage.
However, with the boxes in the garage starting to resemble Mount Doon, it was time to tackle that unforgiving and unorganized beast. I went to move a few boxes and heard a rustling noise that no one ever wants to hear inside your house. It was coming from our garbage can. Our garage was soon filled with the noises of an animal thumping and jumping (but hopefully not humping) inside of our trash can. Here’s the deal. I’m some sort of strange metro/hipster/preppy/sporty guy, not a brawny, brave, or tough guy. Thus, I was really freaked me out.
I would reach for the trash can, squeal, and quickly dart away to safety inside our new SUV. I did that awkward dance for fifteen terror-filled minutes. I know that because there is a video. It’s mostly dark, grainy, and filled with awkward screams.
I was paralyzed by fear.
Fear of the unknown.
I’ve seen foxes, raccoon, deer, and mice chilling in our neighborhood. I love it. I’ve stood and watched those animals gleefully running around our street. I’ve also watched one raccoon trip out on rabies or LSD, so I watched him from afar. When I can see the animals in front of me, in the open and in the daylight, there is no fear. And no definitely no squeals.
Fending off the animal invasion with a broom and can.
But when that exact same animal was hanging out inside my garage and I wasn’t sure what it was, where it was, or how it would respond to seeing a chunkier version of Tom Brady, I was terrified. I kept envisioning a flying raccoon soaring through the air towards my face as he left a trail of rabies mouth foam in his wake. I was afraid. Fearful to move. Fearful to act. So I just stood there and did nothing.
Life outside of my raccoon-infested garage is the exact same way. I’m unsatisfied with some very important areas of my life. I’m bored. I’m frustrated. Yet, I desperately cling to the very things that weigh me down because they are familiar. I keep cruising along, aware of my own dissatisfaction, but too fearful to do anything about it. Because, you know, some terrible stuff could happen if I got a little crazy, took a chance, and chased my passions.
I’m tired of it. I’m not getting any younger and I’m repeatedly finding myself thinking, “well, maybe you missed your chance.” That terrifies me. I’m sick of those thoughts. I’m sick of feeling blah. I’m sick of giving up. I’m sick of being trapped by my fear of the unknown. I’m sick of not taking any risks because I repeatedly envision the worst-case scenario. I’m sick of trudging down the path of inertia as my dreams and visions slowly become a memory. I’m sick of complaining about stuff, but then doing nothing about it. That’s not the life I want to live and I don’t think God wants to see anyone squander their hopes and passions because they drown in their own fear and laziness.
I’m fearful of the unknown, fearful of screwing up, fearful of ninja raccoons, and fearful of falling flat on my face. But I’m more fearful of never trying.