Holding Fear’s Hand

I waste a lot of time worrying. I tend to expect the worst—even though “the worst” has only happened twice in my life, and once it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. Sometimes my fear makes me a passenger rather than a participant; I let life carry me along, rather than acting upon it.

Sometimes my fear feels like my conjoined twin. It is so present—I am so deeply and inextricably aware of it—that fear feels like a part of my biology. It is a nefarious parasite burrowing in, draining me of my vitality, depleting the depth of my dreams, and punching holes into my hopes.

Sometimes my fear is a dense fog. I can’t see where I’m going, so I stop moving entirely. I don’t want to fail or fall, so I don’t proceed. Fear obscures everything before me. It blots out the sun and makes my world very dark indeed.

At my core, I’m a pessimistic and fearful person. It is easy for my imagination to spin its wheels exploring hypothetical travesties and worst-case scenarios. My thoughts often become a litany of worries—ranging from trivial to severe: What if I’m late for my flight/game/date/appointment? Will I find fulfilling work that pays? Will I loose control of my body (or have I already)? Will we have enough financially to live a comfortable life? How will I react when I start to go gray—no, really? What if my father looses the house? What if my grandmother is suffering more than she lets on? What if I fail at this? What if I succeed? What if I get hurt? What if I’m attacked or robbed? What if I never again see this or that loved one? What if I don’t like the food I just ordered? What if I’m not worrying about things I should be worrying about? What if I’m worrying too much?

Sometimes my fear is like a garment I can’t take off. It fuses to my skin. It is too heavy at all seasons, but I can’t remove it from my body. It envelops me completely. I know it should just be a matter of working a zipper or a few buttons, peeling it away, or stepping out of it, but I leave it on.

I easily muster hope for other people: I’m confident he’ll recover. I’m sure she’ll find a job. I don’t doubt for a minute that their marriage will work out. But when it comes to myself, I too often turn to the negative. I treat fear like it can protect me. It’s never proven itself to be a reliable guardian, yet too often I find myself holding fear’s hand before crossing the street.

Fear is a poison I take too often—swallowing it whole like a daily vitamin. It pretends to be the antidote, but it is the venom. It ravages my system. It courses through my blood all prickly. It launches a hostile takeover of my body—implanting itself in every vulnerable place.

I want hope to come more easily. It makes for a much better dwelling. I want to dismiss worry like an unfounded rumor. I want to keep my fears as small as possible. I would like to be so full of optimism that fear can find no foothold. So much of fear is hypothetical. It dissipates upon closer examination. Fear is so often an illusion—an imaginary foe. I want to release myself from fear’s hold on me. And if I’m holding onto fear, I want to let it go.


6 thoughts on “Holding Fear’s Hand

  1. I once tried to conquer fear by posting a reminder on my wall: “Love or Fear.” The idea came from a song by Martin Sexton. In it, he sings to his infant son imagining a future time when his son will be out in the world and “the choice that will remain is the choice of love or fear.”

    I love this song and I love the idea, so I posted it on my wall to remind me of this daily choice I can make: “Love or Fear.” A friend came over, saw my little reminder and said, “Oh, Alice, I think you are missing the point!” And he covered ‘or’ with his hand so it read “Love Fear.”

    I too want to let go of fear and choose love. But most of the time we just have to learn how to love fear too. Thank you for reminding me with your post, my wise, wise friend!

    Here’s the song: http://open.spotify.com/track/4icvuttIOg16k5SlKJ2JLg


  2. Pingback: What the Living Do | Write Away

  3. Pingback: Flying in the Face of Fear | Write Away

  4. Pingback: Seasons of Pleasure | Write Away

  5. Pingback: The Path | Write Away

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s