The other day I was walking from the Grille with a Mountain Dew in my hand, and a bee started chasing me. It kept landing on the Mountain Dew, and I was really scared it would sting my hand. I couldn’t get it away. Finally I set the cup down and ran away a little bit (people were looking at me strangely), and that seemed to do it. I retrieved my cup and ran to the nearest building.
It got me thinking, though, about fears. One thing I’ve learned in my ropes course class is that I’m afraid of a lot of things. For example, I’m scared of heights. Not being up high, but being on something unsteady when up high. I’m scared of bees and spiders and other creatures that look like they might sting/bite me. I only get scared if they’re close enough to reach me, but I’ll definitely run away from something that seems to be coming toward me (like bees). I’m scared of going too deep in the ocean. I’m scared of tripping, falling down, and hurting myself. I’m scared to be alone with older (as in, older than me) men. I’m scared of failing. I’m scared that people don’t/won’t like me.
Some of these fears I know are unfounded (as in, people not liking me). But some of them seem to be healthy fears. Like falling down… I have fallen down, and hurt myself pretty bad. Shortly after the most recent time, we were playing a game with this stretchy fabric tube-like thing in ropes class, and I fell really bad on the grass and landed right on my “bad” knee (the one that had been hurt when I fell before). Then last Thursday they pulled out the tube thing again and immediately I was like “No, I don’t want to do that”, but I didn’t say anything but went along with the game because I had to. And sure enough, I fell. I wasn’t trying to, and it wasn’t very bad, but now I’m scared of the tube thing. Is that a bad thing to be afraid of? I’m perfectly happy never doing a game like that again. I’m content to stay on the sand at the beach and play in the waves instead of swimming out. Should I swim out where I can’t see the jelly fish that sting me (yep, had that happen), or get pulled under by the current (yep, was rescued by my pastor), or be turned over and over and over by the waves (happens often in Peru – I think the current is much stronger there than in Florida)? Should I just sit still and let the bee sit on my mountain dew, inches from my hand?
I wrote in my ropes journal that I was scared to belay people, because I didn’t want their lives to be in my hands. And I admitted that I had no desire really to overcome that fear, because if I mess up it’s a really big deal. Are all fears necessary to overcome? Are there healthy fears?