Fear and One of My Biggest Regrets

This is 31 conversations from the front porch day 30… you can find the rest of the series here.

31 conversations from the front porch with jkmcguire

Day 30: Fear Made Me Do It

I remember when Treyvon Martin was murdered. And I remember the day his killer was found not guilty. I hit the path to jog the trail around the lake and home. I had no idea where to begin with what I was thinking and praying. I had no one at that point in my life to stretch out towards to try and understand better. As I made my way around the curve of the lake I noticed a young black teen sitting along the water on a bench. He had a notebook and pen in his hand – the writer in me recognized the creative spirit in him.

I also recognized his sorrow….but I didn’t know how to approach him.

Actually that probably is not the full truth – knowing how to approach people has never been my problem. My truth: I was afraid to be seen as too white. In my fear I kept walking. My fear of doing it “wrong” kept me from walking across the grass and sitting down beside this young one in his sorrow. I was afraid I would look dumb. Perhaps I was more worried about being seen as cool then being vulnerable.

In that pausing and moving on I missed an opportunity. I could have been the one white woman to listen to him that day. I could have been the one person to sit with him in his sorrow and try to understand, but I was afraid. He may have been the one person that could have spoken truth into my confusion and sorrow – one black voice to help me see more clearly. We needed each other. But I did not even try. I kept walking.

fear is behind our regrets

Fear is almost always behind the stories of our biggest regrets.

  • Fear covers our mouths, our eyes, and our ears.
  • Fear causes us to hide away our gifts.
  • Fear keeps us from telling the truth.
  • Fear mocks our stories.
  • Fear keeps us from leaning towards others.
  • Fear keeps us mute and terrified and unable to connect.
  • We are terrified of being exposed…

Fear keeps us from being where we need to be, and how, and when, and what, and why.

In fear I kept up the pace and made the bend towards home.

I didn’t lean in. I didn’t speak up. I made a choice to not understand.

fear keeps us from being whre we need to be

Exercises For Your Own Front Porch Conversations

Thoughts: Discussions and arguments about race are everywhere right now. I have had a lot of conversations about race on the front porch. Passing discussions with my neighbors during the Baltimore riots. All I know to do in the midst of it is to listen and set down my fear of doing something wrong in favor of learning something right.


  • Where were you when George Zimmerman went free?
  • Did you talk about it? Did you lean into your neighbors and friends and family of color to understand better?
  • When you see a new video of a brown child being wrestled to the ground what do you feel? How do you see it?
  • Do you instantly blame the young person for being disrespectful and non-compliant?
  • Do you rush to defend the one using force?
  • How often do you sit down with those different then you to listen and laugh, to hear their stories and weep with them?
  • Do these discussions make you angry? Defensive? Sorrowful? Hurt?
  • What is one way you can choose to respond in love and compassion instead of fear?
  • If I had to do it over again – I would have gotten mud on my shoes and sat down with that young one for a moment to let him know I don’t understand, but that I was very sad and he was not alone in his grief. ♥
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