Choose wisdom over fear
If you happen to be subscribed to the App Inspiring Quotes, you saw that the quote today was from Yohannes Gebregeorgis. It said, “The beginning of wisdom is to do away with fear”. This got me to thinking about my experience in the Air Force when I was stationed in Adana, Turkey.
Adana was a remote assignment in the southern part of Turkey. When I was there, the country was under martial law and it was pretty difficult to walk anywhere without seeing men with machine guns. Stepping off the base was like walking into a world that had been frozen in time. Buildings were old and run down, stores were dim with bad electricity and using the telephone meant going to the local telephone station where they would attempt to make a phone call for you, which rarely went through. For anyone who had any ounce of fear of things that were unfamiliar, the thought of stepping over the threshold of the base was met with anxiety that caused many to never take the step. That was not the case for me.
I was 19 years old and due to base overcrowding, I was offered the opportunity to live off base in the village. I would be living in my own apartment, in an unfamiliar world, in a country where most didn’t speak English, alone. However, there was something about crossing that line that separated the familiar with the unfamiliar that was intriguing to me, and I quickly said yes. To say the decision was daunting would be an understatement. But it would turn out to be one of the best decisions I would ever make.
I found an apartment above a store in what was commonly referred to as “rip off alley”. It was where all the stores were located where most of the base people shopped who couldn’t conquer their fear to go any further than right outside the base. I made friends with all the shopkeepers. I was invite to the home of the person who owned the store below my apartment. I learned more about the Turkish people and their culture than I otherwise would have been able to. I immersed myself in an unknown culture and learned about people I would have never known, had I decided to stay within the confines of the base around me.
In my time there, many people chose to never leave the base. I decided at that point in my life that fear would not keep me from exploring, learning and living. Conquering that fear gave me the wisdom I needed to continue to explore new places and cultures throughout the future years of my life. Using that wisdom provided me the opportunity to travel all over the world and learn about cultures and people that would show me that we are a myriad of societies, that all have their own unique contributions, that make up this beautiful world that we live in.
Fear often keeps us from living. Finding a way to overcome that fear provides us the opportunity to gain wisdom that helps us navigate our life path. Sometimes, it just takes that one little step to set us on a journey that will shape how we deal with that fear throughout all the future years of our life.