When I was small I made a conscious decision not to fear the dark. We lived in the middle of nowhere. Nighttime in Balm redefines darkness. Nevertheless, as we would walk into the dark house I would lead the way, trusting my knowledge of the house to lead me to my room. I do remember a nervous feeling as I looked inot the darkness around me, not knowing what it might be concealing. But in an act of defiance I would square my shoulders and march. Monsters had nothing on me. I knew where the light switch was.
As I’ve grown older what I knew as monsters have moved from my imagination, out from under my bed, out of my closet. They’ve taken up residence in my heart in the form of doubt. They’ve slowly taken up residence in my relationships, my belief system, and my confidence.
I had a pretty bad car accident a few years ago. It took me a few weeks to drive again. And though years have passed I often experience a seizing up as I’m driving. I see my Jeep flipping in the ditch along the Interstate. Or fear my brakes will fail.
I returned to university last fall. In the two weeks leading up to school I found myself almost paralyzed in anticipation of failure. Words have been a longtime friend of mine, yet I feared when put to the test they would fly away like so many birds.
There are several “Freudian” hang-ups that I could point to as an explanation of my fear, of my acceptance of the monsters moving into my life. But that’s just one part of Fear’s disguise.
There are many words, alternative descriptions, and fictional representations that evoke Fear. Fear operates under many aliases, making it on the most effective secret agents. We’re taught to underestimate Fear. In our childhood fear of monsters is scoffed. “They aren’t real,” we hear, “They don’t want anything to do with you. Just close your eyes and go to sleep.”
As an adult Fear is not exclusive to nighttime. It has crept its way into almost every time and experience of my life. The worst part is I’ve forgotten how to square my shoulders and march into the dark. It’s odd that knowing where the light switch was gave me the confidence to walk through a dark house, yet in the last few years I’ve forgotten that knowing The Light gives me the same ability to walk through a dark world.
As a kid some of my confidence was born out of my own ability to navigate the terrain. It was familiar to me. Life is no longer familiar to me. The terrain has changed. But the monsters of Fear have nothing on me. I know The Light.
*Today I start a three day training in how to be a better Lifeguard. I’m excited (and nervous) and I saw this note in my phone written out a few months ago when I was feeling particularly scared. I need to remind myself quite often there’s no reason to be as afraid as I am.
Love you guys. Have a great weekend!
(Hey and thanks for helping me have my two highest traffic days ever yesterday and the day before. You guys rock!)