The Upside of Fear

When fear that life would pass me by became greater than my fear of social interaction, I started to move. Yesterday was a “go big or go home” sort of day. I talked to my pastor about all sorts of things, such as working to earn ordination through the UCC, actually going to seminary, and people I should meet in Silver Spring.

As of this morning, my application to Howard is complete. I am just going to worry about how to pay for it later. I am sure that with the combination of donors, federal aid, grants, etc. I can wade my way through the last year and a half of undergrad and start grad school to get the MDiv I’ve wanted forever, but have never put my money where my mouth was. I chose Howard because it’s cheaper than American. The last thing I want to do is start out my homeless ministry with crippling debt. Being a pastor to homeless people generally doesn’t pay that well, and if it does, you’re doing it wrong.

The application fee was less than $50, and as I submitted my debit card number, I had this huge feeling that this was money I was using to prove that other people didn’t have to believe in me. I believed in myself. To that end, I took Matt’s suggestions and reached out to the names he gave me in Silver Spring already doing what I want to do.

I have a meeting with Jeffrey Thames on Friday morning. Jeffrey runs a homeless ministry in Silver Spring called “Hope Restored,” so my objective is just to show up and absorb all the knowledge I can, and see if he’ll give me a job. I can’t imagine he won’t. It doesn’t matter if it pays anything. That’s not the point. The point is to get experience in what I really want to do, because walking back and forth from my house to the 7-Eleven is only going to yield so much. As of right this moment, I know four homeless people by name. It’s a damn good start if I am choosing to focus on how far I’ve come in the month that I’ve been here. The trick is not to give in to social anxiety anymore.

When I isolate, I keep bad things from happening, but I don’t let in any good, either. I have to be bigger than my fears. I have to keep them at bay. I have to own them, and not let them own me. The upside of fear is that it motivated me to look at my life differently. And in that way, there is no downside at all.


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