Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May, Day 7: Fear


We've been prompted to write about the things we're most afraid of today. The most obvious answer for me is spiders! Those heinous things give me the creeps. By the way, did you hear Governor Christie is in trouble with PETA, as journalist Esther Lee reported, "after delivering a palm-faced smack-down on an itsy-bitsy spider before a group of fourth graders"? I have a feeling PETA and I would not get along well on this issue....

But, difficult as it is to believe, there are things that have caused me way more fear than spiders have. For a long time it was the dark. I am no longer afraid of the dark...unless of course there is the risk of a spider lurking in said dark, plotting my demise.... I also used to be afraid of walking in grass after dark...again, because of spiders. Oh, and don't even get me started on camping. So you see, it is no small thing to say I have feared something more than I have feared spiders. But I have.

I guess you could call it meaninglessness. Or maybe even death. Anyway, I have at times tended to dwell on all things existential...like, to the point of my own detriment. Seriously. It seems to have been worse in years immediately following great personal loss of loved ones. Like when my brother hung himself. Or when, in a 6-month period between 2009-2010 my sister was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, my uncle fatally overdosed on drugs and alcohol, a previous roommate of mine died of the same cancer my sister was battling, and my dad died. Yeah...that year was a doozie. It seems to take me, on average, about three years to deal with traumatic things like that. I'm doing pretty well right now, but for the last few years I struggled more than I could ever tell with existential questions.

One time I remember even going out and finding an old cemetery where I walked from one crumbling grave marker to the next, for hours, crying over the long-gone life each stone represented as the only physical evidence remaining of that life, and now even it was slowly wasting away in decay. I know that sounds really dramatic...like in a histrionic sort of way...but the feelings had been piling up and that was the only thing I eventually found to help me express the fear and grief I was feeling. (And I never told anyone about it until now, either, so I really wasn't doing it for drama. Just throwin that out there.)

Yep. That's the kind of morbid thinking I have had to deal with, folks...in spurts of several years at a time. Fearing my own impending end...the inevitable loss of more loved ones in the future...failure to procure meaning or "figure out" life....

I think I have recovered quite a bit in recent months. And yes, I find meaning in God...I think I was just in an intense period of grief, so the meaninglessness found its way into my experience despite my faith. That happens sometimes, even to Christians, you know.

And even more, there have been many times in my life when my greatest fear was that I was a disappointment to God. My feelings there have changed, too, though. It's not that I think I have come to a place where I could no longer be a disappointment; but I have realized that He actually and really loves me. I have drawn great comfort for both of these fears (death and disappointment) from 1 John 4:18: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love" (NIV). Jesus offers the kind of perfect love that drives out fear.

That makes me smile somewhere deep inside.

12 comments:

  1. I constantly have to battle my fear of death and the unknown, even though I'm a Christian as well.

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  2. When it comes to fear that and me go hand in hand. I get frightened thinking of death especially when it's the time of the year my husband passed away just two months after my mother,
    But I can be quite positive too and it's those feelings I try to concentrate on.
    I was pleased I read your post as fear is not a nice feeling and to share it with someone is good.
    Yvonne.

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    1. I agree, Yvonne - sharing is definitely a step in the right direction!

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  3. God really does love you. We can't disappoint him because he already knows everything about us. He knows and still loves us despite our failures. That is what I love so much about God.

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  4. Oh wow I am glad you are on the way to feel better and not have to haunt an old cemetery.

    I am OK with spiders we are totally cool, as long as they stay away from my bed if not they will be squashed!

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  5. Spiders are the worst! I even hate daddy long legs, though I know they're harmless...

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  6. Your post spoke volumes, Melody. Grief has a way of taking the normal out of our day, turning us sideways, leaving us to question all that we have held to be true. Searching brings us to answers, and sometimes in the most unique of ways. You visiting the cemetery, crying for those that no longer exist here on this earth. I can understand how cathartic this must have been.
    It matters not whether others understand how we grieve, it is that we take the time and the effort to do so. It is not an easy road to travel. It is lonely and overwhelming. I commend you on your journey, and the courage it takes to walk it.
    That last photo is AMAZING. I absolutely love it's truth.

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  7. (If this post duplicates, I'm sorry. I tried posting and met a glitch...)

    Melody, I am amazed at your fortitude, and the courage it took for you to share this post. Grief is an awesome task, but one that we cannot run from or it will come to wreck us when we are at our weakest.
    The walk through the cemetery, how cathartic that must have been! I truly believe that each of us must find our own way forward when faced with tremendous losses. There are no set rules to grieving, no time limits, and if faced with an inability to grieve, holding on to the hope that we are willing to have an open heart. That we will listen to our inner voice, and that we will not give in to despair.
    I commend you on your journey, the courage you discover within yourself, but more than anything, the fact that you could share such a personal message.
    That photo, the last one; it is simply AMAZING!

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    1. Thank you. Your comments are always so encouraging. I'm glad we have met through this challenge! And I love that photo, too. I did not take it, but the truth resounded with me.

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  8. Fear is a liar is really a brilliant poster. I love the baby poster too. I hope you can find peace.

    Rhonda from Laugh Quotes

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  9. A beautiful post that showed your weaknesses and growth. It's great how you went from a funny post about spiders to such a deeply felt dialogue on love.

    Although I know that Christians can lose sight of the path and goal sometimes, I hope you will always remember that the end will only bring you to a most amazing new beginning with God. Thus, there is truly nothing to fear as long as you trust God to help you through the most difficult times. Writer’s Mark

    PS - I didn't think the part about crying at the graves was dramatic.

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  10. I'm also afraid of spiders, but the worst fears are always the ones to do with life and death. I'm not really afraid of dying though so much as losing loved ones. I've lost all of the older generations, but I've also had very close calls with my dad and brother; those are the times my heart sinks into my stomach, and I feel like I can't breath.

    Kristen's latest #BlogEveryDayInMay post: Everyday in May: Spiders Up the Water Spout

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