When I was six years old, I used to sneak into my father’s room. My father had a room in my grandmother’s place that originally belonged to my grandfather. There’s a lot of cool stuff and for a little kid whose grandfather served in World War II. There were knives and war memorabilia, it was fun. It was a place for me to discover. So, every time my father would leave for the store and I was left alone, I’d always sneak it.
So my dad would be like, “Stay out of my room” and I would of course not listen. 😉 He would step out and i’d sneak into the room with my cousin. So one time my father leaves, we sneak into the room and we’re going through all the chests, all the cupboards, and stuff. We find one cupboard that we never noticed before and inside was a real world-war II hand grenade, legit, handle, pin, and everything. So what a two 6-year and 7-year olds do when they find a hand grenade? We started tossing it across the room to each other, laughing, playing hot potato.
As we are tossing it around my cousin tossed it too hard and I dropped it. We both froze thinking something was going to happen…nothing did. Phew! So I pick it up and holding in my palm and press down on the handle…
That moment my cousin decides to have the great idea of coming up taking his tiny finger and he pulls the pin. He pulls the pin and I realized what he did and he realizes what he did and he panics and runs away with the pin.
Now, I’m standing in my dad’s room with a hand grenade. I’ve seen enough action films that if I let go it’s going to explode and I’m going to die. I remember that. This is it. I’ve just lived six years, so not much of my life is flashing before my eyes.
So my first thought is okay, I need to get help, go to grandma. The second thought is, grandma will tell dad, dad will kill me. Next thought. My dad had a window and it led to our vineyard and I’m like okay if I take the hand grenade and I toss it through the window, the backyard, it will explode but I’ll be okay. Next thought. I realized, okay if I toss a hand grenade and we don’t have a backyard my dad is going to come home. No backyard, he’s going to kill me. I can’t do that.
So the only thing I could process at that point as a six-year-old with a hand grenade that I can let go of is I sat down on my dad’s bed and I started crying. I’m crying, scared and lonely. I still remember that feeling.
After about 20 minutes, my dad comes home and he hears me sobbing. My grandmother didn’t have such good hearing. My dad runs to the house. He finds me on the bed sobbing, snot over my face. He’s like, “what’s wrong?” And I lift my hand and there’s hand grenade. My dad goes silent and I immediately stopped crying. I forget about the hand grade, anything. I’m scared of my dad. My dad calls up to me, walks over. He looks down and I’m looking at him, scared and shaking. My hand is exhausted at this point and aching.
He says, “let go of the hand grenade”. I said, no, we’re going to die. It’s horrible, I can’t let go.
“Let go of the hand grenade”, and I said “dad you don’t understand there’s no pin and if I let it go we’re going to die”. So he raised his voice and again said “to let go!”. I panicked and released it. I remember the hand grenade is falling and the handle is falling and they both separate into two separate pieces and there’s no explosion.
My dad is laughing and I’m still shocked. He finds a perfect moment to tell me, “this is why you don’t go into my room”. You see, that was a world war II hand grenade just no gunpowder at that point.
That’s the thing about fear. We are so scared to deal with our fears. To have those hard conversations, to quit our job and pursue our happiness because we’re worried we’re not going to survive. We’re not going to be able to handle that fear on the other side. It’s going to kill us. BUT the reality is we’re survivors. We’ve gotten to this point because we’ve dealt with our fears and grown through them.
So why should the next fear stop us? You only have two choices in life. Either you sit on that bed crying, clenching to your fear, worried it’s gonna kill you and it’s going to tear you apart. Or you learn to let go of your fears, that you will always survive. Even if it takes you one finger at a time to release that ‘hand grenade’. That’s the best part! When you learn to unclasp your fears, you’re finally free to go and live your life. So face your fears and stop running away.
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