Courage – The Gift of Fear

I recognized the fear in her eyes when she acknowledged mine.


I’d eagerly began the stair climb down into the warm Mineral Bath at Bath, England, when I realized the pool depth was not graded. It was all one depth. A childhood almost-drowning incident and my lack of swim skills rose to challenge me.  BathspaRoof


“I’ll stay right here,” I told my nephew’s wife, Sheree, who was hand pulling my sister across the pool. “We’ll see,” she answered with a gleam I knew meant trouble for me, when three other ladies entered the pool.


The three generation group identified themselves by calling the silver-haired woman “Mum” and “Nana.” I turned to see her reaction to the pool and it was that moment fear recognized fear. Someone once said that misery loves company and she jumped on the thought, telling her daughter and granddaughter that she would hang with me and I chorused that it was a great idea.


Sheree, however, had returned and had other ideas. She reaffirmed her swimming skills, and the fact that she could touch bottom. I turned to my new friend, Jane, to help me convince Sheree that we could enjoy ourselves on the pool stairs, when Jane turned tables, saying, “I will go… if you will.” England2014Dee 567


Rats. I did not want to, but how could I not go and leave someone else to battle what I deep down knew was a mostly senseless fear? She was asking me to have courage for her. Left alone, I would never have considered it, but Sheree’s friendly assurances on one side, and my new friend Jean’s wistful glances from the other did me in. I would trust.


I am big on words. I know courage means to have fear but to do something anyway, despite the fear. I also know there is a vast difference between believing and trusting in someone. Did I believe that Sheree would not let me come to harm? Yes. Did I believe she could haul me across the pool to the horse-shoe shaped whirlpool area? Yes, my sister Marlene waving from there was proof she could. But trusting her? Letting go of the handrail and placing both hands in hers? Whoa! That was hard. I thought of the illustration I’d so often shared of how many people believe Christ existed, but to rest ourselves in his grip – truly trusting – was a giant leap of faith.


The mineral waters held us up somewhat, and there was a current pulsing around the horseshoe area. I was more than content to be left clinging to the inside edge of the whirlpool while Sheree went back to get my new friend, Jean.


A friendship was begun in those few moments and bonded over the next several hours as we commiserated and compared our stories. I am thankful for the experience that I would never have had except for Sheree’s gentle trustworthiness and Jean’s challenge. DeeEngland2014-1 2924


Many of us find our faith through the example of God’s trustworthiness in another’s life. Similarly, Sheree’s keeping her word to bring Marlene safely across the pool was as much a part of building my trust as was Marlene’s faith to go first and her smiling victory wave from across the water. Trust had been exemplified before our eyes by people who had proven they were trustworthy.

We trusted that God was with us through them. How good it is to have trustworthy friends.

1Th. 5:14 And we urge you, brethren. . ., encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

Isaiah 41:10     ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’


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