Monday, June 1, 2015
Day 60 - In the Face of Fear
Finding the beauty in every breath.
Fear. It's a powerful thing that invades each of our lives. We can either allow it to rule every breath we take, or it can propel us to live more boldly and with greater purpose. But it also can be the smallest of motivating flames that can fuel the tinder into a raging debilitating destructive blaze.
To say I don't live in fear of Cystic Fibrosis would be a lie. Sure, I wake up in the morning and it's the first thing that I think about and often the last thing that crosses my mind before going to sleep at night, but we all fear that in which we cannot trust and do not fully understand.
Fear is what motivated me to hide CF for 27 years from the world: fear that I would be a burden, fear that people would see the real me, fear that I would end up hurting the people I love, the fear of being seen as different and weak.
But fear was beginning to suffocate me: the more CF was becoming present in my life the more the flames of fear were fueled. Just over a year ago I decided to break the reign fear had over my life. It was no longer going to rule me, but I rule it. So, I opened the door to my life and CF: I began this blog to share the beauty that fills my life and share who I truly am, instead of hiding behind a fear that controlled every breath I took.
Little did I know just how that decision would change my life in so many ways. Does fear still course through my veins? Of course, but it's a different type of fear. It's a fear that motivates me to live more thoughtfully. It's a deep stirring fear that motivates me to passionately live in every moment, appreciate every breath that I am given, and love with all that I am.
This weekend over 100 people came together to represent Team Ashley at the Great Strides Walk: each person walking in the face of fear, in the face of CF. Each step a resounding commitment to live. When I begin to think of each beautiful person that was there, the beauty they've brought to each breath, and the selfless support they've given me I am brought to humbled tears. I know there never will be anything that I can say, do, or give that will show how truly grateful I am. There are simply no words that match the generosity, kindness, and genuine goodness I have experienced not only this weekend, but everyday of my life. I am so truly rich because of the people that fill my life: each relationship so unique and irreplaceable. Whatever fear CF may instill within me, I know I am not alone in the fight: each of your steps a lasting impression on my beautiful life.
There is still fear that lives in every cough, every PFT, every tinge of pain, every doctor appointment, every course of antibiotics, and every thought of what the future may hold. But in the face of that fear there is an army of support and love that is unmatchable: you. Fear is not going to paralyze me, but inspire me to truly live. Amidst the fear I choose to breathe bravely. Love to you all.
Thank you. I have no words to match the gratitude I feel for the incredible generosity you've shown me, the endless support you've given, and the beauty you bring to every breath. Thank you for walking with me this weekend, this year, and every day. Without any of you, I wouldn't be here. With all that I am, thank you.
Breathe bravely today and everyday, always finding the beauty in every breath you take.