Friday, May 11, 2012

Facing Fear

I want to thank you all for your lovely emails sending me prayers and healing as I battle this diagnosis.  So many of you are telling me how strong I am.  Most days I do feel strong, but sometimes the fear sets in.  Last week I had to endure three MRI needle biopsies.  I was stuck inside an MRI machine for 3 1/2 hours.  I was periodically pulled out of the machine so they could drill tissue out of my breasts.  Not fun.  But I tried to be strong.  The only time I thought I would fall apart was when the smiling nurses would ask me questions about my kids or my pets.  I wanted to say, "Listen ladies, I'd love to chat over coffee sometime when I don't have needles dangling out of my breasts making this scary drilling sound, but now's not a good time, okay?"

I'm using this experience as an excuse to reduce my work load, rethink some things in my life and face my fears. I had a really great experience yesterday that taught me the beauty of facing your fears, the gift of discovery that awaits when we push beyond the unknown.  I dropped my girls off at school and then headed to the beach.  I got there early -- a little before 8 -- and parked at the last parking lot before the beach ends.  I was shocked to find the parking lot empty and when I walked onto the sand -- there wasn't a soul in sight.  I'd never seen the beach empty, and it spooked me  a bit.  At that part of the beach, Shell Island, there aren't any houses -- just an endless expanse of beach that ends in a bird sanctuary.  I usually carry Mace in my purse and wondered if I should go get it  -- ah the joys of being married to a police officer!  Anyway, I kept walking and eventually the solitude became a comfort to me.  Then I spotted someone ahead dressed head to toe in black.  I couldn't make out any features.  I could just see someone in a black hoodie and pants. Great, I thought, so what now?  I thought about turning around, but I said, "No, I'm facing my fears today."  Soon I was laughing as the figure in black walked closer and turned out to be a young girl in her 20's collecting seashells.

Then I walked passed a bend in the beach and came across a lovely discovery.  Someone has built a beautiful bench and placed a mailbox next to it.  There's a little sign that says, "Make a wish or send up a prayer."  There's a Sharpie marker dangling from the mailbox and tons of sea shells in and around the mailbox that people have written on.  Some said things like, "I love Sandra forever."  Others were prayers of requests.  "Please help Aunt Linda get better."  And some were prayers to loved ones in heaven.  "I miss you dad," read one.  "I hope you're proud of me."  I sat there on that bench for a moment and pondered the wonder of life.  Who had done this?  Who had taken the time to give us this lovely gift?  And what if I hadn't faced my small and big fears?  What if I'd ignored that lump I'd felt in my breast back in March?  What if I hadn't gone to see the specialists at Duke?  What if I'd turned my car around when I pulled in the empty parking lot and hadn't discovered this wonderful mailbox to heaven?

What will happen to any of us if we refuse to face our fears?

 I suppose Eleanor Roosevelt said it best:

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

Very often, we will find that waiting around the bend, just passed the darkness of fear, is a treasure waiting to be discovered.


  1. Samantha, thanks for sharing! It is a crazy world we live in and fear can grip you by the throat and choke you if you let it. Facing fear head on can empower us and you are such an inspiration to us all! Prayers of healing & happiness sent to you daily! Peace! Beth

  2. know that book I recommended...well, as I'm sure you're stretched for time- Anita Moorjani is all over youtube sharing her story. I just think she would really "speak" to you right now. She's even on facebook with some excellent messages- she really focuses on living fearlessly. She came back from stage 4 cancer by changing her life from living in fear (fear of illness, fear of dying, fear of just living her truth) living fearlessly. She is cancer free and healthy now. A quote from her facebook page today..... "A question I get asked often: "What do you tell someone who has cancer?" My answer: "Do not live your life as someone who has cancer. Stop making your whole purpose about fighting your cancer. Live your life as you would if everything was perfect. What would you be doing right now if you were a healthy, happy, person? Do those things right now!"

  3. Having just sent you light and love after reading the blog from the bottom up - I came to this blog date and decided to click on the comments (haven't clicked on any others). I JUST (lacking a few pages) finished Anita Moorjani's book TODAY after hearing her story a couple of times, was intriqued.

    Then I read the comment above...?? synchronicity??? I totally agree with Ashley regarding the book/the story! I also suggest "Listening" to her tell her story - I believe it's on You Tube and I know she's on Wayne Dyers talk at one the Hay House -" I can do it" recently and on a radio show or 2.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.... All will be well. .....robin

  4. This is beautiful Samantha, and a perfect example of what Mrs. Roosevelt was saying. Much love and light to you!! xoxoxo

  5. Thanks for your comments! Just bought the book and am almost finished. What a GREAT story. Thanks for the suggestion!