Choosing Fearlessness.

SONY DSCDespite the smile in this picture (read: I know I am three and cute and everyone in this family wants a picture of me on their own iPhone but I want to get off this rock and play in the sand), there is no one in my life who has taught me more about fearlessness than this girl.

One day, while we were on our vacation, a man purposely went into a garbage can and took out a bunch of food. I just thought he was homeless but I was wrong; he just wanted to created a Seagull Riot four feet away from me and my little sister. They were rabid for this half eaten pizza and trying to kill anyone who got in the way. Because of the way we were positioned, I couldn’t get the two of us away and so unfortunately, we watched all this happen.

I am not going to lie, I was scared. These birds wanted that food and there were sounds of aggression and sounds of pain as they hurt one another to get it. (I think there is a metaphor here for another post but I’ll stick with my point here). Most of all, they were close to us! In order to keep the food to themselves, they kept coming closer and closer so they could turn their back on the flock, thus bringing the flock with them.

Maybe it’s just me but I don’t love rabid seagulls. Especially when I am holding my little sister.

She sat on my lap, watching all this happening. “It’s okay, Neen,” she murmured to me above the din of the birds and pat one of the hands I had around her waist. “Don’t be scared.”

I know her well enough to know that she wasn’t scared based on the tone of her voice. She’s said the same thing to me when I screeched that the Wicked Witch stole Toto in The Wizard of Oz. She knew, sitting on her sister’s lap, with our brother right beside us, that those birds were not going to hurt her. Period. End of story.

“I’m scared of birds,” I admitted to her. (Okay? So what? I am. And no, I didn’t know I was until I was in Venice and surrounded by them.)

She tilted her head back and gave me her trademark smile. “No, you’re not scared,” she told me. I can’t tell you the number of times she has said this to me in the past year–the three year old to the twenty five year old. I love the way she says it too–as if I’m being silly, as if her big sister Nina would never be scared of a rabid seagull flock because her big sis is too tough for that. It’s that simple for her and maybe it should be.

People take care of her. They make sure she is safe and protected and rightfully so, since she is three years old. She doesn’t really have anything to be afraid of–even when she is literally leaping from furniture into my arms, she isn’t afraid because I always catch her. I’ve never missed. She doesn’t know fear yet, this little girl who thinks the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are funny, and I would be lying if I told you she is not constantly teaching me things.

She’s fearless.

“I’m scared,” I admit to her.

“No, you’re not,” she always replies, as if I am so silly.

When I consider my brief twenty five years (perhaps a bit longer than three but still brief), I don’t have the same track record as Ava. People have failed me and more often, I have failed myself. But. But. But.

There is always Someone catching me, every single time. And if He allows me to fall, there has always been a purpose behind it–something better. Every single time. So I can leap with just as much fearlessness as Ava. Sometimes I just need my little sis to remind me of the these huge, important life lessons.

And let’s face it, adventures require fearlessness. That doesn’t mean, I am never afraid; it only mean I choose something different.

SONY DSCThis is my favorite photograph I took during the whole trip because it encompasses so much of who this little girl is today and perhaps maybe a little glimpse of the girl she will become someday.

Listen to my sister: be fearless,

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“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

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10 thoughts on “Choosing Fearlessness.

  1. Deanna

    Love the photos! She looks so much older in the last one!
    I love your use of sarcastic humor. Not only is your literature very detailed and heart warming, but I can sense humor that is fun to relate to 🙂

  2. Brenda Harris

    Wow! She sounds like a young Lady Mary. You know, being the brave one and trying to convince others they’re not afraid. Thanks a heap for a wonderful blog. It’s a crazy time of year and I haven’t taken the time to tell you that often enough. Hugs!

  3. Lisa

    Love this… Isn’t is so great to know that Someone has out back no matter what?? To me, this makes life more exciting!! Although, I will say, a flock of birds would be very concerning to me also…

    (BUT I am not going to lie… similar to Ava, I may laugh at the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park every now and then too!)

    Happy weekend 🙂

  4. Lis

    Nins, I love your posts about Ava because they’re so true. When you are young and innocent you are untouched by all the bad around us. We just need to remember to be fearless, especially when it counts.

    “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” Psalm 56:3
    (you reminded me of this verse when I needed it most and I still tell myself this. at least not daily 🙂 )

  5. San

    The age of innocence–cherish and enjoy all the moments it brings. Side note . . . did you get your fear of birds from your grandmother? (Sorry Nonna)

  6. Laura

    Gorgeous post, Nina! Birds freak me out sometimes too (ever since a sea gull nailed me in the back of the head while I was enjoying a tasty German treat at Epcot Center!) so this post is speaking my language! And now when I’m having a scared of birds moment, I’ll think of this post. 🙂

  7. Heather B

    I know I’m a little late to the show, I’ve been MIA. But I love this. I almost started crying at just how precious she is. I love how much you cherish that relationship. It’s so easy to take family for granted, but she’s making sure that doesn’t happen!

    1. Nina Post author

      You’re not late to the show. She is the best. We have the best time. The other day on facetime she asked, “Dad, are we done with Nina?” because she wanted to watch her show and I said: “Dad, are we done with Ava?” and she said, “No!” and laughed so hard. Are we done with Daddy? Are we don with Mommy? She’s at the age where she gets jokes now so it is so fun.

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