Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Do You Need a Ride? IWSG Post

Lengthy post, I know. But it's a really good story...

This morning, on my way home from dropping my daughter off at school, I observed an elderly lady pushing a buggy across the busy intersection in front of me. When my light turned green, I noticed she was really elderly, and my heart gushed with sympathy. It was also raining. Each block I drove further away, my brain battled my heart. Brain: Hey, mushy-heart, what if she hits you over the head with her cane and steals your car? Huh, then what will you do? Heart: Get serious, over-active brain!

Four blocks and four stoplights away, my heart conquered my brain, and I turned my car around, heading back to find her. I searched the sidewalks, and found she'd walked onto a side street. When I approached her, I rolled my window down. She looked.

 "Do you need a ride somewhere?" 
"No."
"Are you sure?"
She glanced down at her cart, a flimsy wire basket with a cloth bag suspended with clothespins. "No, I have too much stuff in here."
"Oh, that's okay. It'll fit in my backseat."
She shook her head. "No, thank you."
"Where are you headed?"
"The park."

(There is a park right around the corner from where we were.)

"But it's raining."
"I like the rain. Besides, I need my exercise."
"Are you sure? It's no problem."
"Yes, but thank you for asking. Be safe."

She tells me, in the warm, dry car, to be safe. I glance in the mirror to make sure I'm not blocking traffic and catch a glimpse of myself. Morning messy bun and no make-up. Frightening. Maybe her brain was screaming, stranger danger!

"Well, okay then. Be safe, too." And I drove away, wondering if I should go back and insist. But at that point, I had to trust I'd done my best. I certainly didn't want The Cane protruding from her cart!

Now, you may be asking yourself, what in the world does this have to do with writing? Well, in light of it being my monthly post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by author Alex Cavanaugh, I found this situation fitting.

Fear. Fear of trusting others. Fear that if we reach out, we'll be turned down or worse, wounded. And in the writerly world, fear of putting ourselves out there. Letting others read our work. Submitting our treasured, polished gems. Sometimes, we just have to take the chance. We'll never know if we don't try.

In my case, letting go of my fear and turning my car around to assist someone. And in her case, letting go of her fear, and trusting that there is still good in this world. 

Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith, hop in the car, and enjoy the ride.

~Have a lovely, writerly week, y'all.

*Note: My apologies go out to Nick Wilford. I was so wrapped up in my own stuff I forgot to participate in your blogfest. *hangs head* Just saw another blogger's post about it :( 




52 comments:

  1. What a great story. And good for you for listening to that nagging in your heart.

    I hate, I mean hate, when fear guides any decision I make. I know if I listen to fear, I have made the wrong decision.

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    1. Seriously, I agree, Julie. Fear is so crippling, and we miss out on all sorts of fabulous things.

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  2. Aww! Such a great story! Fear definitely can be hard to overcome, but it's good to take the time to let go of it and see what good things may come.

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    1. Definitely, Cherie. :) Loved your IWSG post, btw!

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  3. Awww, you're so sweet, and so nice to go back. But the elderly lady learned to be cautious and it's probably a good thing. A shame, but a good thing, because her fear was for her personal safety. (This coming from someone who hitch-hiked everywhere in the 1970's, lol!). Now our kind of fear, you just have to feel the fear and do it anyway! As writers, we really put ourselves out there as a target. But I've had way more kindness directed at me than arrows. We just have to grow thicker skin, I guess.

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    1. Thick skin and lots of confidence! And yes, she probably made the best decision for her own safety (not that I'm harmful). The next person who offers her a ride may not be such a good person.

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  4. Great story! You did the right thing, and I wish more people would trust, or defy, their instincts in this way. People always talk about an instinct of 'danger', fear etc. but you rarely hear about an instinct to do good--and I think we have them all the time, and as you say, sometimes it takes moving beyond being afraid to find it.

    No, she didn't take you up on the ride, but you showed her a kindness that she's not likely to forget. And heck, she might even pass it along. :-)

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    1. Wow, thanks, E.J. What a sweet thought that she'll never forget it. I know, I won't.

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  5. You are in the minority for even stopping. Good for you! This is a great analogy of the fear that holds us back. If we can just get past that first step...

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    1. I know, right. You should have heard me arguing with myself! My husband has done it before, but he's a buff police officer. But man, it felt good to swing the car around and find her. It's what I've wanted to do on several occasions but never had the guts to do so. I'm glad I did.

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  6. Hello back from IWSG. I'm glad you listened to your heart. I did that a couple years ago when a woman asked me for a ride at the cell phone store. She had tattoos and missing teeth. She ended up being very nice, having just moved to Florida to be near her son, but her wallet and ID had been stolen and she couldn't even get a driver's license until she sent away for her birth certificate. I helped her out with some cash, and she did some work for me in return. I was a tiny bit scared, but the same spirit that told me to help her also calmed my fears. Great to meet you! If you're going to the SCBWI conference in Atlanta, I may meet you in person soon. If not, maybe in the fall in Birmingham.

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    1. Hi Sher! Great story you have yourself. :) I've made a couple of cons in TX, but haven't had an opportunity to attend out of state. One day...

      Nice to meet you too!

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  7. I think we all have to learn how to strike a balance with fear. Too much is paralyzing, but too little is reckless. And taking a chance on something is called gambling. Sometimes, it really pays off. And most of the time, it's initially exciting, even if the risk falls through in the end.

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    1. So true, Michael. I tend to lean more on the paralyzing side. Actually, my girls joke that I'm a total safety nerd. But, I think it's good to put yourself out there, if even just a little.

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  8. i've pondered whether to stop & help a couple of times recently. one guy needed gas money & asked me to follow him to the gas station, i felt bad, but i was scared!

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    1. I'm not sure how I would feel if someone off the street asked me for money. Probably the same way you reacted. Scared.

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  9. Putting yourself out there is scary. I'm glad you took the leap and continue to pursue what you love. That days a lot about your character.

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    1. In regards to writing, yes, I think it's important to put ourselves out there, completely and with vulnerability.

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  10. Great story and super post!

    And I'm sure Nick will forgive you. You can make it up to him when it comes time to promote the anthology. ;)

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    1. Oh, that's a great idea! I did have a story idea for the anthology, it just slipped my mind, and before I knew it, the day had come and gone.

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  11. Excellent story to show how fear holds us back sometimes.
    And I'm sure Nick will forgive you.

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  12. Your story is so touching! And you're right, it relates perfectly to writing. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  13. Awesome awesome post! In the end, what matters is that you tried. You answered the 'what if' and even if it didn't end perfectly, you'll be happy :) I learned that from personal experience a few days ago! Weird how everything comes together,

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  14. Nice story and nice tie in with fear. Putting myself (and my writing) out there means being vulnerable... and that scares me! But I do it anyway because if I don't, then what's the point, you know?

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  15. Maybe she really did just want to go for a walk in the rain :) I do that sometimes!

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  16. @Alex, thanks :)
    @Camille, I think so too. Fear plays a huge role in writing.
    @SC, As I drove away, I thought the same thing. At least I gave it my all.
    @Jackie, if we don't put ourselves out there, we'll never get the chance.
    @Callie, you may be right. Not all of us mind the rain. I personally don't like to be wet, but she sure seemed comfortable with her choice.
    @Nigel, thanks!

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  17. I think we all experience this type of fear in our lives, but we must remember not to let it rule us. Caution is something we all need to be aware of, but fear needs to be filtered into something more positive. You did well and conquered yours ....

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    1. Hi, Michael! I was touched by your IWSG post. I hope you made it through the day with cherished memories. :)

      You're so right. Fear needs to be filtered.

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  18. Great post, Candilynn. I also had an experience where I wanted to help a friend with a ride home, but she took it the wrong way. Awkward ... :)

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    1. Eww, sound VERY awkward. O_O Sorry that happened to you!

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  19. Fear is an amazing thing. It can stop us "dead in our tracks." I'm glad you turned your car around. I also couldn't help but think, maybe she really did enjoy the rain. Maybe she really did like being out in it.

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    1. It almost did stop me. Not so much fear for me, but fear she'd turn me down (which she did) or fear she'd think I was a whack job!

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  20. I live in a very small town. So usually when I see people walking in the rain or cold I do stop, and they usually know who I am and get in. :)

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  21. I lived in many big cities (including New York City for 10 years), and there's a good reason for the non-trusting "stranger danger" philosophy. The US is a great place, but it has a lot of bad and violent people in it. Even in a small town, you can never be completely sure... Better safe than sorry.

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    1. You're so right, Lexa. It was one of the reasons I argued with myself to turn around. I thought, man, she'll think I've flipped my lid! But, I'm a glad I did anyways.

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  22. You're a star for asking her. Rare these days. I prolly wouldnt have gotten in either tho. Just independent that way. ;)
    I missed your agent news so big congrats!! I know we were both waiting to release news at the same time so super happy for you! Best of luck!! :)

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    1. Omg, I LOVE your pixies! Can't wait to order mine!!!

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  23. I'm popping in from IWSG.
    This is a great story and it fits with the "putting your writing out there"...
    I've read of people who have a "Scare Yourself Every Day/Week" bucket list, as a self-challenge on their life journey. Fear is a strange thing. It can consume you, if you let it.
    They say that half the things you worry about, never happen. I've found this to be quite true.

    Nick's bloghop was awesome! He'll understand, I'm sure of it.

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  24. Great story that really made a good point. It was so nice of you to turn around. I don't think I would have had the nerve to do that, but I'll sure think harder about it the next time I see someone who needs a ride.
    That's one of the great things about the IWSG. Here are a bunch of people who dare to put our fears out there, and trust that someone will take us somewhere warm and safe. :)

    It's been a while since I visited, but I thought I'd congratulate you on your great looking new blog--and on getting Little Acorn's Big Fall published!!! Great work!

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    1. Thanks for hopping over, Kirsten! Yeah, it's been awhile. I just visited you this morning. I can't believe how easy it is to miss folks these days. O_O Thank you so much about Little Acorn's Big Fall. :)

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  25. You have such a big heart! And you related your experience so well to writing. It's so hard putting ourselves out there. It's so easy to be paralyzed and keep our work for ourselves. You're such an inspiration of getting out there, taking the chance, and seeing what rewards can await! :)

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    1. Aw, Michael, thanks so much! That's right, put yourself out there *wink* Ready for me to come to some book signings with you. :))

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  26. Wow--she sounds like an amazingly strong woman. And good on you for lending your heart out! You've made me smile this morning :)

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    1. I agree, Randi! She is a strong woman. I'm still sitting in amazement of her!

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  27. Thanks for your comment on my blog post--I'm still trying to figure this IWSG stuff out, so I really enjoyed this post. It is an awesome example.

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    1. If you need any help, let me know! You can always email me at candice.fite@gmail.com. :) Welcome to IWSG!

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  28. Love, love, love this post, Candilynn. The analogy is perfect.

    And thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

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  29. I walk a lot for exercise, and I do get people pulling over to ask me if I need help. Maybe I need to invest in nicer walking clothes...

    A little fear is a healthy survival mechanism (like not picking up a stranger on the side of the highway who smells like booze and is carrying a knife), but too much fear keeps us from taking good risks, risks that help push us forward. Great post!

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  30. Ha, lol! Nickie, that's funny about your walking clothes!

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