Sunday, January 22, 2012

Metamorphosis of a Fraidy Cat – Pt. 1

Courtesy H. Nett
When I tell you what she told me, you won't believe it. I thought I had misunderstood so unlikely was the story. “No,” her mom said, “You heard correctly. That is where she's headed.” Even then it was surreal. She returned about the time Son #1 headed off for Australia.

Her mom and I commiserated during our mutual momentous weeks. Watching young ones escape the nest is tough enough when they are headed to the corner market. Watching them travel the world alone is downright paralyzing at times. So, we fretted, prayed, and agonized like moms do.

In time,” I asked, “I want to talk to her about how she came to do what she has done. Let's give her time to debrief and get her head around her travels. Let me know when you think she's ready?”

The time finally seemed right. We planned to meet for just an hour. By the time I asked the pivotal question, the only sign of the 3 hours that had passed was the chilly wind ushered in by the setting sun.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
The last time I'd seen her, she was just one of the gang who had come to celebrate Son #1's 18th birthday. I had spoken with her briefly as her mom and I shared a few laughs. She had seemed quieter than her younger sister but not shy. Looking back, maybe I did think for just a second that she stood in the comfort of her mom's shadow. Never in a million years would I have guessed. 

I guess you've never been afraid,” I said as I began to pack up my writer's tools.

Her eyes widened as she settled back in her chair. I took my cue and opened my notebook once again. “Are you kidding?” she asked, “ I was afraid of EVERYTHIHNG. There was NOTHING I wasn't afraid of.”

I shook my head in wonder. “Seriously? You. Afraid? No way. What in the world have you ever been afraid of.”

Courtesy H. Nett
The list began to slide off her tongue in the way of one whose constant companion had always been fear. “Failure, making new friends, simple business transactions at a cash registers, talking to strangers, speaking in front of a group, doing homework independently, driving, going places by myself. I wouldn't even enter a store alone while my mom parked a car until I went on this trip. I was always afraid. Of everything.”

How in the world,” I asked, “did you overcome that level of fear to travel half way around the world and into a country that almost no outsiders go? What made you think this trip was something you might want to undertake? Or COULD undertake?”

Two years of online photography courses led to an opportunity for 6 additional months of training. This time, tho', schooling would not be via the computer in her home. She would have to travel to Hawaii for initial training and then on to China for more photography experiences. She had never been anywhere without a parent. Her longest trip had been within a day's drive.

Courtesy H. Nett
You know,” her eyes began to flash as she leaned forward, “I felt like it might be something God had planned for me. I did a lot of praying. I told him if he would give me the desire to go, I would go. I knew the desire would have to be strong enough to outweigh my fears. So, I prayed, and I waited. Before I knew it, I was not fearful. I was ready to go.”

As you can imagine, the China part of the trip first caught my attention. For all the say about unsocialized homeschoolers, my son and one of his friends have both traveled to China before they were 20 years old. I wonder how long it will take kids like these to unravel that misperception about homeschooled kids? Her trip would have commanded my attention if she had been only to China.

Courtesy H. Nett
As incredible as it seems, the trip to China led, of all places, over the border and into North Korea. Yes. You read that right. NORTH Korea. Until my young friend ventured there with a tour group, via China, I had no idea travel to that country was possible. My son had peered across the border into North Korea. Even that close encounter made this fraidy cat nervous. Before my very eyes sat his classmate who had been there and had the pictures to prove it!

As homeschooling moms, Mary and I had no idea the places our children would travel. We had only hoped we were preparing them to take on challenges and adventures far bigger than any we had embraced. Now, my son has been to China and Australia. Her daughter has been to China and North Korea and hopes to head to Africa in the next few weeks.

Hannah and my firstborn son amaze me. If you think fear of the unknown is a reason to recoil from taking the 1st step toward anything, remember these unsocialized homeschoolers!

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Think about the fears Hannah had to overcome. Do those same fraidy cats rub around your ankles and make themselves at home? Come back tomorrow and find out what happens when a fraidy cat emerges from her cocoon of fear. I know you want to know more about her life altering adventure. I sure did! 

Psalm 56:3 (NAS)
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” 

1 comment:

  1. Great story, Carol Anne! Can't wait to hear the rest!