I remember the first time I rode a bicycle without assistance. My dad had repaired four bicycles and needed to get them home. Only one could fit in the boot of his car so he asked us to ride the others. We often hung out with him in the mechanical workshop at the campus and played or wrote on the board while he worked. He always found a way to keep us engaged so we didn’t distract him or get hurt. Those were fun times.
I said, ‘Daddy, it’s too high for me’. I guess I was just afraid. You see, I had been using a smaller bicycle with training wheels up until then and was not mentally ready to make the transition; especially such as abrupt and unexpected one. He walked over to me, picked me up and set me on the bike, then he pushed it and said ‘if you don’t want to fall down, ride it till you get home’. I guess he was convinced I could handle it.
My fear of riding paled in the face of my fear of falling as I looked past my feet and observed the undulations on this grass covered portion of the workshop surroundings. Soon I would reach the tarred road and I couldn’t imagine falling there. I gathered my resolve and cycled harder but still with caution to catch up with my siblings.
I took an alternate route to help me reach them faster. Wrong move! All of a sudden, I heard dogs barking. I looked back and saw that they were coming after me. I really don’t understand why dogs love to chase wheels in motion; I guess it’s a play thing for them but I was completely terrified. Now my fear of getting bitten by those dogs knocked out my fear of falling and I cycled as though I wanted to win an Olympic gold medal. The harder they barked, the faster I rode until I reached home, screeched to a stop, flew off the bike and into safety. Through the crack of the kitchen door I watched them bark at and try to bite the wheels of the fallen bike till both lost all momentum. What a rush!
In life we experience different kinds and degrees of fear and it’s to our benefit when we learn to let go of those that cripple us and keep us from living life to the full. Sometimes, a substitution is needful to help us carry on. For instance, instead of allowing the fear of failure to thrive, replace it with the fear of not becoming all that you’re meant to be and let that spur you to achieve more and be more.
Not all fear is bad.
To be continued…