Happy Trails–Beyond Our Fears

Recently, en route to a Virginia speaking engagement, I stopped for dinner with my daughter and son-in-law.  Relaxed and happy, excited to share our new projects with one another, I at last confessed that I was nervous about speaking the next day.

My son-in-law, surprised, bluntly asked, “Why?  What are you afraid of?”

My first inclination was to tell him that I wasn’t afraid, but I suddenly realized that indeed I was.  And because confession is good for the soul—I’m told—I admitted that I was afraid of getting lost or missing my turn while traversing the Washington D. C. beltway, of losing my place or dropping my notes while speaking, of saying something stupid, or that my clothes mis-matched the event.  I was even embarrassed about the dent in the back of my not-very-new but definitely non-classic automobile (please stop laughing—at least I don’t have to crank it)!

But my son-in-law, young and strong and sure of himself, dismissed all those things out of hand, as if they didn’t matter and would never happen.

The next morning I left my hotel bright and early, allowing plenty of time to make my way to the church where I would speak.  The first thing I did was miss my turn, and yes, got lost.  Fear #1 in full play.  Thankfully, I’d prepared as best I could with the phone number of my contact, google maps directions, and had even brought my GPS as backup.  Unfortunately, my GPS chose that trip to give up the ghost.  The phone number came in handy, and I received directions to circle the beltway one more time.

My husband has a saying, “When you’re lost, enjoy the scenery.”  I saw a lot of scenery, but drove into the church parking lot in the nick of time.

The church provided a podium for my notes, and because experience had taught me that sometimes my notes DO get out-of-order, I’d devised a new plan to organize them.  It was all much more comfortable and pulled together.  Fear #2 never materialized.

While speaking, I did say something stupid—at least once.  But the audience and I laughed together, and I knew they forgave me.  Fear #3 didn’t matter.

What to wear is always a mystery to me, so I tend to opt for black.  A simple palette makes it easier for me to forget about myself.  The church committee presented me with a beautiful orchid corsage—which they were so happy showed up well against my black.  Whew!  Fear #4 turned out great.

All of that goes to show that my fears—which Andy Andrews calls “imagination run amuck”—materialized, but without the punch I’d anticipated.  Everything worked out—I’m not still driving around the D.C. beltway. My notes behaved themselves, even when my enthusiastic gesturing nearly knocked them off the podium.  Saying something stupid just included me in the human race.  And I’ll probably never stop wondering what to wear.  So, that’s it.

Oh—about my car.  Well, let’s just say it has lived and will continue to live (I hope) up to its illustrious name, “Happy Trails.”

So, what are your fears?  Are they founded or do you, too, usually find they don’t pack the punch anticipated?

Perhaps you’re traveling this pre-July 4th weekend, so how about I pack you a “to-go” thermos of sweet tea to share with those you love, and a picnic basket filled with fried chicken, biscuits and blackberry jam, potato salad, and broccoli-bacon crunch.  We’ll top it off with strawberry/blueberry trifle—red, white, and blue!  There’s a roadside picnic table part way.  Bring along the blue and white checked tablecloth.  I’ve got the ice.

Happy Travels and Happy 4th of July!

Looking forward to seeing you back home in the garden next week~~

God’s blessings for you,

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  • Eva Briley says:

    Do you make deliveries w/ that delicious picnic basket? ; )
    You comments sound encouraging and I can definitely relate to your fears of getting lost. I was afraid of getting lost the first day of my new store, and sure enough, I did! I always allow an extra hour for whatever catastrophe may come my way, and had time to keep driving ’til I found a familiar road, to go back to the beginning and start over.
    As for my biggest fear, besides getting lost?…not finding and affording an apartment in time.
    I’m glad everything worked out for your speaking engagement. I’m very excited for you! =)

    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      Getting lost is one of those things that seems to come naturally, doesn’t it? Allowing extra time is the perfect way to take some of the sting out of that, Eva–great plan!

      I hope and pray that you’re able to find an affordable apartment in good time, and that all goes well with your move. Thanks for stopping by, and God’s blessings for you!

  • Susie says:

    Hi Cathy,
    Enjoyed reading this journal entry and you gave me food for thought for my journal entry this weekend! We just got back from visiting in PA, and we enjoyed seeing much of both sides of our families. I would love to accept your picnic basket and happy trails for our next trip! Wishing you and Dan a Happy Independence Day from the 1st State!
    My Best!

    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      So glad for your happy trip, Susie. It sounds like you had no directional challenges–wonderful!

      A very happy Independence Day to you and yours!

      God’s blessings for you!

  • Hi Cathy –

    While I haven’t spoken before a group in awhile, I have done a number of Sign Language Specials. The concerns that crop up:

    1) Have I practiced enough, so that I’ve achieved that muscle memory aspect? Without that, it’s difficult to forget the mechanics and just worship.

    2) What to wear! Yes, we both have that on our minds. I usually opt for a solid, dark color. If I choose something patterned or too light, my hands become invisible.

    3) Last, but not least, I’m always praying that the special will minister to the congregation. Picking the right song is critical.

    I guess we all have our difficulties when getting up in front of a group. 🙂


  • Cathy Gohlke says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Susan! Yes, I think there are some common challenges when speaking to a large group.

    Your signing fascinates me! So many interesting things to consider when sharing the Gospel in different ways.

    God’s blessings for you and Happy Independence Day!

  • Vikram says:

    Hmm Which sisters did you go to? Mardy for the 1st one & Linda on the 2nd? I’m rdnaieg Come and Find Me by Hallie Ephron. I’m not sure where I got this book. It’s hardback & is missing it’s jacket with the synopsis. By the name it sounds like a mystery & I guess it is. It’s about a woman who is has panic attacks & hardly ever leaves her house. She spends her time on her computer in a virtual reality OtherWorld. Anyhow, her sister ends up missing & she is trying to find her. I’m more than 1/2 way through & I’m having trouble getting into this virtual reality thing. I’m hoping it gets better.

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