With all the fear the news can produce these days, it’s sometimes hard to do the things we love most. Algae in the water sends us away from the beaches, local car break-ins make us leery of our local shopping mall. Whatever the scenario, I’ve found that the more I educate myself with the outside world and all its problems, I am less and less likely to actually go out into the world and experience it.
Take for instance Mollie Tibbitts. If you didn’t hear this story it is by far one of the saddest I’ve heard all year. Not just because a young beautiful life was lost, but because of the fear it inserted into something I love very much. I am a runner; I won’t say I’m nearly as avid at this as I once was. But when I get the chance, I plug my ears with highly inappropriate rap music and jog. I have this loop that I run consistently and it adds up to a 5K. Lately, I am more inclined to ride on my Peloton as opposed to jogging. And it’s not the heat or the rain that stops me, it’s the fear.
Twenty-year-old Mollie Tibbitts was a jogger too. She was jogging near her home in Brooklyn, Iowa when she disappeared on July 18, 2018. After searching for a month, police caught glimpses of a 24-year-old named Cristhian Bahena Riverain in a surveillance video following Mollie in his car. He inevitably led them to a cornfield on August 21st, where he had laid Mollie Tibbitts' lifeless body to rest. He was charged with first degree murder. This story played out in the news quite tragically and the facts were clouded by her accused killer's immigration status, which politicians took as an opportunity to feed upon like vultures. In recent news, her father is speaking out against this very issue because his child’s death has become a “pawn” on the board of politics instead of a lesson in safety.
All that aside, this story hit very close to home for my family and a lot of families around America. My husband followed the story tirelessly, praying for this girl every Sunday and checking his current events often to see if there were any updates. It broke his heart. Truly. Her story changed our family. Each Sunday we prayed that they would find her. And quite honestly it had me putting my jogging shoes up for a little bit. My husband and I discussed my jogging route, which is pretty regular. He asked me to change it up as anyone who wanted to could follow me and at any point attempt to abduct me.
I suppose I’ve always known there was a certain danger to jogging. Perhaps I looked at it in a more superficial way. I didn’t see actual danger beyond tripping or pulling a muscle. I used to jog with a partner and, lucky for me, she was a cop so I always felt quite safe. Even she would tell me to take out one ear bud as I jogged so as to be more alert and aware of my surroundings. All the while, I thought she meant because of passing car horns or perhaps another jogger behind me needing to pass. How very naive I was. In fact, just yesterday I read again about Wendy Karina Martinez, a thirty-five-year-old jogger who was stabbed to death in what police are calling a “random attack.”
Last week I took a kick boxing class, which isn’t really my cup of tea although it was fun and a great workout. I prefer the cardio of a jog or cycle. But I took this class with the notion of learning a few “moves.” Punch, jab, block, uppercut, kick! While the friend I joined at this class has begged me to accompany her for a while, I didn’t see the point until recently. Fear took me to this class. My husband's diligent worry had me second-guessing something I enjoy. While fear and worry halted my favorite cardio pastime, fear and worry are characters in many plays of life. Some people find the worry so overwhelming that leaving their own home becomes difficult.
I can often be heard saying that worry is like a rocking chair. It goes back and forth but it doesn’t take you anywhere. Yet here I sat in my own rocking chair of worry and seated next to me are my Nikes. While most accidents can be prevented, I don’t want to spend my life stuck in this chair wondering about all the what if’s of life.
Whether we like it or not, there is danger in this world. But there is unbelievable beauty too. And just like Mollie and Wendy I prefer an outside jog so I can experience that beauty front and center. In fact, I feel and see God more sometimes while I jog than I do in church on Sunday. His beauty is everywhere and all around us. While I want to be safe and free from danger I cannot possibly risk assess every situation before I do it.
Sure you could play pros and cons while you stand in line for Splash Mountain. You could weigh the statistical probabilities of whether the logs are safe or the tracks are oiled. But how likely are you to get into that log and take that long journey to the tip top of that steep climb only to slide down in a fast fall? Even if after assessing the dangers you still choose to get into your log and ride, how likely is it you’ll open your eyes and let your arms wave as you fall towards the “thorny brush” below. Life is just a huge Splash Mountain. There are risks and there is danger, but we have to trust that there is a plan and just try to enjoy the ride. Because at the very tip top of that climb, right before the fall, the view of the entire park is a truly spectacular sight to be seen.
The 5 P's to success go as follows: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. And being married to a worrier myself I hear this motto ring through my home quite often. I retort back with a lyric of John Lennon: "Life is what happens to people while they're busy making other plans." We should be prepared and planning does have a great deal to do with that, but any perfectionist will tell you that it can be tiring making sure everything is "just right" all the time. So, armed with knowledge and pepper spray, I will go grab my Nikes and get back to doing something that I love. I will take each stride in faith, knowing that my God has a plan for me that no amount of P's could ever prepare me for.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. When have you taken a leap of faith in your own life?
Q2. Does knowing too much make us more or less vulnerable to the world and why?
Q3. Why do we educate ourselves to the point of no return, when it becomes overkill?