Bear Grylls is a British soldier who spent three years as a soldier in the British Special Forces. He broke his back in three places in a parachuting accident and spent many months in military rehabilitation He recovered and went on to become one of the youngest climbers ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Bear Grylls said, “Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.” And I’ve had to find that way through my own fear this week.
As explained in another “tales from the water wars” post, in 2014 my Ford Ranger pickup was hit by a crop hauling semi in Westlands Water District. I had emergency abdominal surgery and had a hellish time recovering. Then after I was discharged they discovered I had a large abdominal wall hernia from the seatbelt, and needed more surgery.
I put the surgery to repair the hernia off because I didn’t want to face another operation. And then it was easier to be a water warrior. The WaterFix hearing was a huge, sprawling, epic battle. Then COVID hit. But I did finally schedule the surgery. I had it today, Monday, November 29, 2021 at UCSF Parnassus.
Because of my life experiences, there is very little I am truly afraid of. But about a week before the operation, I started to realize how rather terrified I was after the hellishly difficult recovery I had in 2014. Through meditation practice, I have learned to sit with fear, observe it, and try to let it go. It is a process. So that’s what I did before the surgery. And it helped to know that my friends and family loved me and were rooting for me. During the pre-op preparations, my surgeon and the medical team were all very kind and considerate. I did make it through the surgery without the major, life-threatening complications I had in 2014. As with the 2014 surgery, I did have severe post-operative pain, and had to stop taking opioid pain medications because of the risk of ileus. But I got through it, with the kind support of many friends.
Fear is part of being human. We all have things in our life that we fear, both small fears and big fears. It is never easy to face those fears. But by doing so, we develop strength and courage, and the ability to deal with what life throws at us.