Moving From Fear to Strength

In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, in talking about Fear Truth #5, Susan related the following anecdote about a woman suddenly faced with a worst-case scenario.

I can illustrate with the case of Janice, a middle-aged housewife, who “planned” her life in such a way as to avoid risk taking as much as possible. She married a successful businessman who handled both their lives. Janice allowed this situation because it was more comfortable for her never to put herself on the line. But, as the saying goes, “Life is what happens when we’ve made other plans!” At the age of fifty-three, her husband, Dick, had a stroke, which left him partially disabled. One day she was totally taken care of and the next she was totally taking care of.

The transition wasn’t easy. After fighting the rage of “Why did this happen to me?” she started to accept the fact that she was now in charge of both her own and her husband’s survival. Numbed, she went through the motions of learning his business, handling decisions regarding his health, and waking up every morning with the understanding that it was now up to her. After a while, the numbness left, the fog cleared, and she discovered a profound sense of peace she had never experienced before. She started to realize the heavy price she had paid to be taken care of.

Prior to her husband’s stroke, Janice’s thinking had been permeated with the phrase “what if?” She always worried about the future, never enjoying her todays. She had lived with the underlying dread, “My God, what if something happened to him?” She had often remarked to her friends, “I hope I die before he does. I couldn’t live without him.” And she thought she couldn’t—which is a less-than-satisfactory way to go through life. This all changed as she found strength she never thought she had. She now knows the answer to her question “what if?” The answer is: “I’ll handle it!”