You Are Never Not Afraid

It would be wonderful if it ever eased up, but it doesn’t. You worried when they were in the womb, and here you are all these years later, still worrying. Are they doing ok? Are they getting enough nutrients? Is something going to happen to them? Are they happy?

More than worry actually, you fear. You wake up in the middle of the night. Your stomach drops when you get the alert from their school, when you hear a news story, when you contemplate the direction the world seems to be going.

When you have a child, Joan Didion once said, “you’re never not afraid.” Because your heart is now outside your body. Because it’s now painfully clear, as the Stoics tried to point out, how not in control you are.

It’s important that we acknowledge and accept this fear. Because it’s there. Because it’s not going anywhere. It’s also important that we understand what courage is. Courage is not the absence of doubt or fear or being afraid–if it was, there wouldn’t be anything impressive about it, would there? Heroes know what they’re doing is dangerous. Bravery is proceeding despite the fear, it’s steeling yourself and carrying on because you’ve got something important to do, because you’ve got a cause you believe in, because people are counting on you.

In this case, it’s so clear who is counting on you, how important what you’re doing is. Be of stout heart. Push through the fear. Keep going. Be brave. They’re counting on you.

Ryan Holiday’s Courage is Calling shows us how we, too, can rise to answer the call to courage, how we can step forward while others step back. Will you answer? If not now, when?

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