Some say fear is necessary. Some say evil. Others argue a safety in terms of self preservation. Others, like me, are too afraid to commit to one particular definition leaving ambiguity as to what fear is and the allowed heart spaces it resides in.
I don't know exactly what fear is other than an emotional response to something I'm unsure of, somewhere my feet feel foreign and unacceptable.
On a mountainside 12,000 feet above sea level, my heart pounding unusual and in disconcerted rhythm, my lungs grasping for more and my head spinning, I honored fear as wisdom. The sprawl of back country in the Colorado Rockies absent of altitude acclimation quickly reduced my heart lost in romantic adventure. The manly within boasted through gasps, "I'm ... good, let's . . . do ... it!"
Fear subdued manly in shaky hands, rocky bluffs and waning strength. We stopped in our uncharted, sighted tracks and instead navigated a safe descent.
Sitting bedside, alarm clock humming in dawn's still soft lit arrival, the day already felt too big. It was, too big.
Little eyes searched for me in each waking. I didn't know how to satisfy their wanting. Death stole what they never imagined was on the table for the taking but life took. And God was twisted in the details, muddying our belief in his goodness.
Morning intimidated me but not nearly as much as the (maybe) thousands of unarrived ones following in sequence. How to live sank low beneath fear allowed space in my heart and rule in my mind.
Afraid of my daughters' always maimed emotional state, Afraid of my lack of answers, Afraid of loneliness, Afraid of quiet, Afraid of good again, Afraid of faith I thought I held, Afraid that God was closer to the middle of circumstance than I thought he would be, Afraid of smiles, of conversation, of being found, of death, of incompleteness in life, of being forgotten, of bitterness, of tears still, of acceptance, of honesty, of love. And in that shell of walls closing tighter each fearful morning, I chose to stay.
Fear paralyzes and reconstructs brave hearts to lonely beggars wincing at light and life abounding. I see now in a gaze behind me of the landscape flattened by fear - no peaks, no spikes, no change, just a down slope to less than and days sold in my giving. Fear doesn't heed to permission or resistance. It just multiples and shuffles the deck with a lying hand.
One passage I noticed in fear's down slope came at my weakest. Honesty.
Honesty offered a new way gently rising up back to life's surface where days were met with a smile, small but true.
Only in welcoming honesty into my smaller heart could fear be loosed.
For me, and probably you, too, I feared something that wasn't even real.
I feared not being able to control or stabilize my falling. In a bothered scribbled confession, profaning the despondent then, God was seen by my eyes down-gazing.
Fear sets in habitual foundations as we purchase all that it's selling. The break from fear's hold comes not in mere courage, but in honesty. You're afraid and that's okay, but don't be afraid of being afraid. When you do, fear habituates in your heart buying up all the real estate it can.
I saw it in the mountain back country of the Rockies and in the melting mundane of days sinking.