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The Only Thing We Have to Fear

My dad always said the way to beat your fear was to face it. So much of fear, after all, is not knowing. If you know, you won’t be afraid.

That’s why, for a week when I was a child, I slept with one arm dangling off the bed, within easy reach of whatever might be lurking underneath. That was my dad’s answer whenever I was afraid of something. The dark hallway? Stand with your back to it, and without looking, reach into the darkness. Keep your hand there and slowly count to thirty. What about the basement? Go down without turning on any lights, stand in the middle of the floor, and close your eyes.

I overcame a lot of fears that way. While many of my friends kept nightlights in their bedrooms, I preferred the dark. In fact, now that I’m an adult there’s only one thing I’m still afraid of. My father’s advice hasn’t failed me yet, so it’s only natural I apply it to this last, greatest fear.

Everyone fears death. In just a few seconds, I won’t.