Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Only Thing to Fear...

Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his 1933 Inaugural address said, "The only thing to fear is fear itself."  He was facing a presidential term with an America in the throes of Depression, its people lacking faith in the government to turn things around.  It seemed an impossible task, but he did it.

This morning I did the impossible.  Wwwwell... It wasn't really the impossible;  more like the very personally difficult.  I asked for help.  And because I asked, help was received.

It's a big thing, this asking for help.  I like to believe I've been blessed with the mental facilities to think difficulties through and come up with solutions that will work;  that luck really does exist in the universe and my turn at having it good is due;  that my ship will not only come in, but it will dock and moor and stay.  Perhaps all those things have happened today and if they did, it's only because help was asked for and rendered.

What is it about asking?  It feels as if there's some stigmata that goes with getting help.  Explaining situations does not equal humiliation so why is it such a task?  What driving force causes the heart to flutter and the mind to conjure error-laden thoughts and the feet to hesitate?

I dunno...  Coming (almost) full circle to these middle-aged years of life, I'm still learning to cope with personal inadequacies of self-esteem.  Confidence in abilities lags at times;  confidence in God-given talents isn't always full of the faith it should be.  It seems as if, now that the niche to excel in has been found, that the worthiness and ability to proceed produces fear of failing;  of finishing the course of study begun.


This morning I asked for help:  financial aid help.  The small junior college currently in attendance had denied it, their basis a matter of policy.  There were too many hours transferred back and the accumulative grade point average wasn't exactly something to be proud of.   An appeal to their decision was submitted, with a soul baring explanation of the dismal academic performance given over two decades ago.  That appeal was denied as well.  I thought of giving up, of finding some excuse for myself that could be expanded and expounded upon to garner sympathy;  an honorable way to tuck tail and disappear.

2013 is, however, the year of no excuses.  I've stuck to that resolution  there is no out for failure.  I was going to need help to complete the Culinary Arts degree so desperately wanted.  Help, so difficult to ask for and yet so necessary;  I've never wanted a thing for myself as much as that degree.  The decision to proceed to ask for help was difficult.  An appointment was made:  the appeal was appealed this morning.

The meeting with three representatives of the financial aid department and college was filled with questions and answers.

My mouth didn't trip over spinning thoughts while answering forthright, outright, and with truth and integrity, perhaps because of the confidence felt simply wearing the black uniform required on Thursdays in the culinary department.  Disease-warped individuals like myself have a real problem with appearance, despite admonitions that the thing is hardly noticeable.  I felt like I looked confident.  The line from  Billy Crystal's Saturday Night Live character, Ricardo Montalban, came to mind, "And remember, Darling, it is better to look good than to feel good..."

I'd asked for prayers at Bible study last night;  thoughts of assurance and nothing but the will of the Almighty being done as a life of (sometimes feeble) faith and hope is lived kept nerves from running entirely amok.  The little smooth rock was, again, in a pants pocket to remind a trembling spirit "There is no Rock like our God."  It was the first time prayers were ever petitioned for myself;  there was a weirdness about it.  They were needed.  It would be all good (Romans 8: 28) regardless of the outcome of the meeting.

The thirty minute meeting felt like forty forevers.  Dismissed from the room while their decision was reached, I paced the waiting room, talked white perch fishing with the custodian, and church and family with the receptionist.

The director came out with papers in her hand and a smile.  They'd approved the appeal.  Financial aid was awarded.  The relief, the joy, the thumbs up that I'm where I'm supposed to be... it's indescribable.  It's put me in a state of thankfulness, humbleness, gratefulness, and contentedness that hasn't been felt in a very long while.

Still.  What was the big deal?  What is it about asking?  That's not for financial aid only - that's for any help.  What causes the hesitancy?  Is it fear?  And if it's fear, is it fear of failure? or of success?

I still can't find those answers but I'm encouraging any of you in need of any sort of help to put your big gurl panties (or boxers) on, deal with the doubts, and ask for it.  It's out there and it's waiting for you...