As promised, today I am discussing Facing Fears Head On.
This is a follow up post to 5 Lessons Learned About Fear and thank you to all of those who joined in the conversation.
Let’s begin today with a warning. There will be some of you who do not like this post. I understand. This is my journey, and I tell it in case it will help someone else. If it only helps one person, then it was worth it to share the story.
First, I want us all to acknowledge that the word “reckless” has a different meaning to each individual. That would be the same for the word “risky.” I look at this picture I recently took of people parasailing out over the ocean. At this moment in my life, I see that as reckless and too risky for me. I am learning not to say that I would never do something…it is a sure invitation that I will find myself faced with it.
I choose not to ride motorcycles. I see it as too risky and I hate speed. But I also know there are readers in this audience that ride and love them…and I would never tell you not to do it. My choice is personal to me, and I promise not to judge you because you do something you love. In fact, that is worthy of applause!
As I stated in the first post on fear, I traveled often in my youth and was much more adventurous. However, my travel was only in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. At that time, you could go to Canada and Mexico without passports. So….(now don’t spit your drink out)…I have never owned a passport. I know that is going to be a lot for the seasoned travelers here to take in. Hope you will stick with me.
Last January, life was still normal, and I was still employed in a day job and working as a blogger. At that time, Mr. B informed me that he had arranged for us to join his sister and her husband in Puerto Vallarta in January 2021 for a holiday. If we went, it would cost very little to us. He knew exactly what he was asking of me…the wife who did not like to travel…the very one who possessed fear- of -flight issues, and owned no passport. He gave me all of the reasons why it was so important to him that we do this…together.
So, I agreed at that time to consider the trip. Then a pandemic hit. My first thought was…”there is no way he will want to continue going on this trip. I won’t mention it…it will never happen.” But he persisted to insist that I get the passport and we would watch what happens one day at a time.
With every passing day, I cried out to God to help my husband see how ridiculous it was to continue thinking we would go on this trip.
In the meantime, I did get the passport and I began to work on my immunity…big time. Which was important to do whether we stayed or traveled. I improved our intake of foods with zinc and Vitamin D and was faithful with my supplements.
I honestly believed most of last year that the trip would never happen. I believed God would not ask his child with anxiety issues to walk into a situation she hated…much less, in the middle of a pandemic. However, I have learned that God loves me more than that. He loves me and wants me to trust Him with everything. I knew at one point in prayer that I needed to do this for me, to bless my husband and to learn true trust in God.
So, in January, it was abundantly clear, we were headed to Mexico. However, the trip was not a reckless venture. We wore double masks on planes, and in airports. The resort where the time share is located has many, many strict safety procedures. We stayed at the resort on the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta and did not go into the city. Under different circumstances, we would have enjoyed the city…but not at this time. I think I used enough hand sanitizer to peel off my skin.
I was reassured by the manager of the resort who insisted every possible precaution was followed…she said, “It does not help us if you do not return or leave with a bad experience. This is our livelihood.” Our hearts did go out to the people working there struggling to make an income and so happy to see someone show up. They were precious people.
I felt safer on this trip than I did teaching 16 years of high school with kids who had full blown flu sitting in my classroom. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that hopefully parents will no longer be able to send their children to school sick. The flu is also deadly. There were very few people there and the beach at times was bare. It actually was a perfect time to go.
The laws have changed since we were there. Now, everyone must be tested before returning and if a traveler tests positive, they cannot return until well. I am not going to do anything that gets me stuck in another country, so I will not return until that changes. I still draw lines with what I will and won’t do.
We have not as of yet received the vaccine, but when it is available to me I will get it.
Because I dug deep and chose to do this, I had powerful quiet times listening to the waves of the ocean; I renewed a relationship with my sister-in-law and her husband; I blessed my husband; and I saw new beauty and hope in the world at a time when I needed to see it.
I even purchased a daily planner about Bravery with inspirational messages and verses to help me grow in this area.
The blessings of facing my fears and choosing to go were…
- I learned how unfounded some of my travel fears have been.
- I learned that with proper preparation and research I can be prepared for different situations.
- I learned to cover each moment- by- moment steps and decisions in prayer and thus find peace in any situation.
- I learned to be vulnerable and ask others to share what they have learned in similar situations and to be on my prayer team during the time of the trip.
- I am breathing easier and have not felt panic in a very long time.
We self-quarantined for two weeks when we returned and have been fine.
I am not encouraging anyone to take risks you do not feel comfortable taking during this time. I am encouraging you to take baby steps outside of your “fear-zone.” Only you know what a baby step would be…sometimes that means we open up to a loved one about our fears. It doesn’t mean you go out in a pandemic if you are not ready to do that. I would not have taken this size of step if it had not been for my husband and his reassurances that we would make it work with the utmost care.
This trip did not convince me to do anything different than I am already doing to prevent catching the disease. I still wear masks, use hand sanitizer, social distance and go places when I know the crowds are the lowest. I am at home more than I am anywhere else. I would not recommend to anyone to do this unless you have taken the proper precautions we did… personal immunity building; protections; assurance of protections at the destination; awareness; and information gathering up to the moment of departure. (A note about the picture taken on the beach. The only time we went without masks is when there were no other people near us. On that day, there were only four of us on the beach!)
I also have learned not to judge others for their choices that I might not make. I will not call you reckless for doing or trying something I would not do. A reader left this blog audience because she wrote that I am reckless going out and about…well, this post would have sealed the deal!
I hope no one will leave but will understand that my journey through fear needed to take this route. I am glad that I did.
Thank you so much for your encouragement and for joining me in all my journeys.
KEEP SMILING, EVERYONE!!
By Pamela Lutrell