I found out the answer to that question at 1:48 am on Sunday morning. It’s kind of hilarious now, but it absolutely wasn’t then. But more about that later…
Earlier this year something extra weird happened in my neighborhood that has become the theme of 2019 for me. It was a Sunday morning and my coffee maker was on the blink, so I was driving to Starbucks so I could be a pleasant person at church. I had just turned out of my neighborhood onto Augusta Road when a crazy owl, wings spread wide, flew straight toward my car! Her owl eyes glared into my human ones and just as I was wondering if a flying owl on a kamikaze mission can break a windshield, she swooped up over my car and was gone!
Maybe it was a kooky Aunt Hilda owl on a visit to the more secretive, ordinary family of owls living in our woodsy neighborhood, but I’m a person who likes to find meaning in weird things, so I wondered if maybe life had a message for me. Maybe it was life saying, “Why hide in the trees if you want to soar? Why scrounge after field mice if you’d rather fly over to the Donut Experiment or get a Sausage McGriddle?! Or maybe I could take the owl’s sweep towards my car more directly as encouragement for me, asking me to “Dare to do what scares you- if it’s something you want to do, that is!”
So I’ve been doing it. And I’ve been seeing lots of lots of other people doing the same thing!
You might think I’d be used to speaking before groups of adults since I do it all the time with my congregation and for my books, but the real me is a hermit at heart. Kids are easy to talk to, but I still need to push myself to say yes to speak with adults, to bribe myself with chocolate, to give myself a pep talk complete with power poses and inner rah rah cheers that I have meaningful things to share. And it always (ALWAYS!) turns out that once I get started, it’s a pleasure. That I learn from the people I’m with and grow from the experience and I say to myself, “Well that was fun! Why the hesitation, scaredy cat?”
So when my friend Kate Cavanagh asked me if I’d take part in her free online parenting summit, if she could interview me all the way from Ireland about praying with kids and also about the story behind The Holy Eclair- how as a young mom my faith turned upside down when we moved to France, Aunt Hilda the owl soared through my brain. “Sure!” I said. And then the scaredy cat in my brain swished her tail and said, “WHAAAAT?”
I haven’t heard the interview, but I’m hoping I didn’t sound like a wacky Aunt Hilda! Kate is kind and fun to talk to, and I discuss those things with people all the time, so it should be fine, right?! And I get to join an awesome panel of experts on such varied topics as toddler tantrums, teaching children to cook, growing in our identity as parents, and finding that we are loved for who we are and not what we do! (AMEN!) If this sounds like something you’d like to listen to (or if you’d just like to see if I sound wacky or more normal than you thought) I’m officially inviting you to check out “Raising Happy Healthy Christian Kids” – and to pass it along to any parents or grandparents that might enjoy it. Here’s the link: https://happyhealthychristiankids.com/rebeccaramsey I’m grateful to be part of it and I’m glad I said yes!
The thing is, I know from experience that God always meets me in those times I say yes, when it’s something that scares me but I want to do it. God ALWAYS does. So look out Aunt Hilda owl for whatever comes next! I’m ready to soar! But I might have to freak out a little first. And that’s okay. Because really, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
Oh yeah. I still need to tell you about what happened Sunday at 1:48 am, when I found the answer to that question! I’ll be brief because I’m not sure you can handle the details.
On Saturday night my cat Jack was acting weird. He was racing around chasing something imaginary, which got Rosie the dog chasing him, so I was sitting on my bed watching the madness run circles around me. Be aware that Jack sometimes catches creatures outside and brings them in my house to torture and kill. (Sorry. The circle of life is harsh.) But sometimes Jack also chases lights that the television projects on our walls or lights from passing cars outside. So I watched him, and since I didn’t see a chipmunk (his preferred victim) I chuckled and thought how funny he was.
Then the idea occurred to me. Perhaps he is chasing something real. Since my husband is on a business trip, perhaps I should stay upstairs in the guest room- just so I won’t have to witness anything distressing. BUT NO! I did not! I said to myself, “Self, I want to stay in my own bed! I must face the things that scare me. Because really, what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
At 1:48 Sunday morning I found out, when A CHIPMUNK ON THE LOOSE SCURRIED UP MY BED AND RAN THROUGH MY HAIR!”
Yes. This is the worst thing that could happen in this situation. The thing of nightmares. The thing that horrified my lunch buddies at church on Monday and sent me to the guest room for 3 days until I left for France this morning!
(I was planning on a trip anyway. It’s not on account of the chipmunk. But it does work out nicely!)
But the good thing is that really it wasn’t that awful. I mean, it scared me and made me walk around my house like a zombie for 20 minutes, saying “DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN TO ME?” and “AFTER JACK IS DEAD, WE ARE NEVER GETTING ANOTHER INSIDE/OUTSIDE CAT AGAIN!” and “WHERE DID THAT CHIPMUNK GO?” and “CAN WE SELL THE HOUSE NOW?” But I was still alive and I survived something that I have dreaded ever since I’ve had my first killer cat, so I’m going to do a power pose right now and say that I am woman, hear me roar.
Blessings to you as you face what scares you! And really, what’s the worst that can happen?
PS. My mama would want me to tell you that I have house sitters at home and there’s also a wild dog and a murderous cat and maybe a wild chipmunk on the loose inside, so if you’re a robber, I’d choose another house if I were you.