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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Southern Girls Living Fearlessly - Day 18

Don't put up your umbrella until it starts raining.

A lot of us are standing around under opened umbrellas because it might rain. Although we southern belles are the queens of big hair, we recognize the difference between a big do and puffed up frizz. The latter mane is one to avoid. Yet, if we always agonize over rain ruining our locks, we've constantly got one hand holding up the umbrella, leaving only one to work with; thus we're only half as productive in life.

Like a good southerner, I'm using a metaphor to explain a common hindrance to living fearlessly - worry. And I myself am not immune to it.

Tomorrow, my husband leaves for a hunting trip to the arctic circle wilderness of northern Alaska. He and three other men will be dropped by a float plane along a river bank with the understanding that the pilot will return in 10 days to collect them at a designated point 50 miles down river. They will have no guide, no roads, no hotel rooms, no grocery stores, no doctor, no pharmacy, no wives with common sense. Just them, the grizzlies, the wolves, the caribou, and the packs on their backs.

Even though I laughed when the three other men intimated that their spouses won't need to fret about the bears because my beloved is the slowest runner, to say that I am worried is an understatement. It creeps across my mind on a daily basis that there's a chance he might not come back. There's a chance he might meet up with a grizzly bear. There's a chance his pilot might not return. There's a chance he might get hopelessly lost. There's a chance he took all the wrong supplies. There's a chance he and the others will run out of food. There's a chance a terrible accident might happen. There's a chance the pilot might crash.

When I think all these nagging thoughts, I start reaching for that umbrella - Where are his life insurance policies? How will I manage the business on my own? What are all of our loan and bank account numbers? Who manages our investments? What will I tell the children? - and I hold it over my head just in case the sky starts falling.

But holding up that umbrella won't stop the rain from coming down. It won't stop my husband from going on his oh-my-gosh-I'm-almost-40-and-what-have-I-done-with-my-life adventure. And it won't alter any possible consequences or outcomes. I have to have faith that God has him in His hands. And I have to keep telling myself that one midlife-crisis excursion to the Alaskan backcountry beats buying a motorcycle.

And if it does rain, well then, I'll wash my hair a fix it again, knowing God has me in His hands. Until then, I'll leave the umbrella hanging on the hall tree so I can enjoy each day as it comes, take care of what I can, and let go of what I can't; which also allows the people I love to go out and do the same.

Some parades get rained on. This doesn't mean there shouldn't have been a parade. It's time to quit worrying and start living the fearless life.

TODAY'S ASSIGNMENT: Get out a map of the world. Mark everywhere you've been in your life (since birth), then look at how far you've traveled.

Next mark three places you would like to go. Think about how much faster you'd get there if you just closed up that umbrella and used both hands.

(Lucy Adams is a freelance writer, weekly newspaper humor columnist, and the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny, available for purchase from Amazon.)

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