Friday date: Battling anxiety

Long-time readers know I’ve blogged about brave-making campaigns and about keeping Friday date night — a weekly tradition established before my husband, Gary, died of cancer.

But this is my first blog about a brave-making Friday date.



Cancer motivated Gary and me to launch a weekly date night. And I’ve been keeping these Friday dates. alone. when I’m in town. (Yes, the patheticness of this has already been discussed.)

So this week’s date included a trek up to Green Lakes — 9.2 miles round trip and an 1100-ft elevation gain — beginning with a series of waterfalls as the trail climbs steeper and wanders past wildflowers and patches of snow still hanging around …



… and trees that look as if an eager beaver got a little carried away …



… before coming out on moonscape and then dipping back down to lakeside, with Broken Top standing guard at one end, and South Sister — at 10,363 feet — taking the watch at the other end.


South Sister (all trail photos by Marlys)


Here’s my confession: I woke up Friday morning with anxiety about the hike.

Because I’d never hiked this distance alone. Because what if I couldn’t make it to the top? Because it would be much more comfortable writing from a local coffee shop than hiking uphill.

Which is why I hiked the trail. Because I didn’t want to.

And it was absolutely fun, and challenging, and awe-inspiring. And I paid attention — to the roar of the creek, the tumble of waterfalls, butterflies in flocks (swarms? herds?), wildflower colors, the ability to walk, sweet taste of water, massiveness of mountains, blue-green of lake.

Since anxiety isn’t my norm, and it puzzles me, I did a search for antonyms, for the opposite of fear. These descriptive words came up: Calmness, contentment, confidence, peace, happiness.

But my brain was searching for an action verb.

And then the word courage blipped onto my radar screen.

If courage is the opposite action of anxiety, then I combat anxiety and fear by doing the thing that scares me.

This thought from Donald Miller in his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years:

The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is, ‘Do not fear.’ It’s in there over two hundred times. That means a couple of things, if you think about it. It means we are going to be afraid, and it means we shouldn’t let fear boss us around.

Fear, and hesitancy, and anxiety, and uncomfortableness, and lack of confidence — these are a guaranteed part of life. We’re human; we’re going to be afraid.

But we carry the choice to rise up in courage as a way of not letting fear push us around.

Oh, and for the record, the last part of my brave-making date produced absolutely no anxiety at all whatsoever: A burger and fries from Bend Burger Co., eaten in Drake Park with a good book and lawn chair while watching the tourists wind their way along river’s edge.


Photo credit:


Which begs the question, Is there something you can do in the next day, week, or month that would make you a little braver?

P.S. If you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share, tweet or pin!


Discovering new purpose in loss


Letters tied together with love


  1. sally slick

    Well done Marlys! And I am going to find that ‘something’ and just do it! Thanks, as always, for such words of wisdom!

  2. Thomas Archer

    Bravo!! It’s a good feeling when your body overcomes something your brain doesn’t want to do. Nan gets that feeling every time she finishes a hard workout she didn’t want to do in the first place *chuckles* She calls it her “perverse pleasure” :*)

  3. Thomas Archer

    Meant to say also, what a beautiful part of the world you live in – a wonderful place to become a little braver xx

  4. Amy Jones

    I’m taking Kate backpacking in the Trinity Alps this weekend. Neither of us has done this before! I’m nervous and excited. My fears and anxiety almost kept me from going, though. And I am still wondering what I’ve gotten myself into. But I’m going to be brave…

  5. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    Dear Marlys & readers,
    I did not forsake you… I had to have an op’ and am making good progress but didn’t get around to joining in. Now I said, ‘I did not forsake you’ and we all know that God Loves us and He said, “I will never leave you”, therefore He is always there with you/us. As I read about your anxiety and courage, I could feel within your words that there was a ‘Never mind, God is with me”. And when you described the elation of ‘being there’, having got to that place with so much life and nature surrounding you and, it is moments like this that one can realise, ‘God is good and He is here with me now’. I truly understand from those ‘being there’ moments on my cycle and walking challenges – somewhere out there in God’s wilderness. You deserved the ‘burger’! Thank you again Marlys. Our love, God Bless, Barbara & Peter.

    • I’m sure you had many cycling and walking challenges, Peter. (I’m assuming you’re referring to Oregon when you write: “somewhere out there in God’s wilderness”!)

  6. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    Marlys, for you and us ‘Yes’…. however you know only too well there are special places, be it Vietnam, the High Sierra’s, we could go on but in each case it is the ‘being there’ – feeling, touching, hearing, sensing God’s presence. Thank you for taking me/us there. Our love, God Bless, B & P

  7. Mary

    Good for You! An awe inspiring place. I’ve spent the past few days on the banks of the Metolius, my healing river. My next thing to conquer is backpacking alone. I’ve done it twice and it was amazing, I’ll admit it was a bit scary noises in the night. We’re in Central Oregon for awhile so maybe see you on a defeat Hike?

  8. Carla

    Thanks Marlys, I needed this inspiration today as I walk my cancer journey. Courage not fear!

  9. Marcia Musial

    Hi Thomas, my love! Marlys, I enjoyed reading this and felt like I was there with you. A few times while I read I thought, “but will there be a famous Black & Blue burger?”. Please don’t this that this is all I took away from this piece, but I smiled when I saw the burger. It’s good getting to know people better. God bless.

    • I smile every time I see their burgers, too, Marcia! Gary and I changed our eating habits after his cancer diagnosis, which meant eliminating burgers and fries (darn) … so they’re such a treat now when I have them only a few times a year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2024 Marlys Johnson