10 Habits to Break (and NOT live by) :: fear.

darkfearnight Fear.

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.

Fear. Good.

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. Bad.

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.

In the Disappearance of Today.

hope Hope.

I often wonder of tomorrow, when I am older and time runs beyond me, when my bone and muscle move much slower than my heart leads, when I have more space in each day for thoughts to circle.  Thoughts of how life will be for them and what life’s pressures feel like then.

I remind myself: they were created for that day ahead.

And it waits for them.

“Dad, do you think I can be . . .”  You fill in the blank because my little girls ask about them all.  My strong reply always echoes the same.  “Yes, you sure can.”

They will meander close behind me and stray in the distance as my daughters grow, get  older and begin to stand surer in life.  There will be many instances where I have little control.  I feel their strings pull a bit more as their day gets closer.  The truth is I have very little control over their course in life.  God has allowed my opportunity to reflect His glory and nature into their lives, but it is He alone who owns the days ahead.



FEAR and the sinking.

[gallery link="file" columns="5"] FEAR: The best behind me. FEAR: Life will always be this way, shadowed in loss. FEAR: My daughters always wounded learn to survive, emotionally maimed. FEAR: All goodness is fleeting and happiness constantly reframing. FEAR: Love past will suffice. FEAR: I will not be enough. FEAR: These fears and more will condition me to loss, shrink me to small, shell me.

I am dangerously holding disappearing beneath wave’s surface foaming tossing and beating losing and dreaming eyes that uncover the hand folding the lights bright blinking

I am afraid of the door closing fading in the sound creaking bending and bowing seeping and hoping my hand warm on the knob turning yesterday leaving

Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid?  Have you still no faith?”

The wind no more.  The waves still and inanimate reflecting sun as glass.  Their feet still soaked.  Hearts still pounding.  Breaths still drawing deep and out of rhythm.  His eyes disturbingly calm as if nothing ever did happen giving little value to the panic of moments before.  He’s wet, too.  And he gets it, the moment before.  His eyes so calm and seemingly disconnected did see waves and squint in howling wind, but they saw something else.  Now.  Afterward even then.

‘Why are you afraid’ invites us out of wind and wave and panic and dread and finish and into his moment standing now.  Afterward even then.

Staring at the day wondering when it will release, waiting for things and people and love to all make sense again.  To be well fit for the life so bright just right there at my doorstep, but tripping over toys and clothes and books and dreams while trying to open the door.  That is grief.  Excusing yesterday and wishing it well.  Embracing now and forthcoming holding it so tight and familiar.  Wanting so badly for that to be now.  But that is not rescue or reason.  That is reward.

So what, then?  Faith.  Have you none still?

These are my fears minus a few howling throughout the day darkening my sight, damning tomorrow in the tumult now.  These are the things that must be let go if I am going to do more than write and hope for tomorrow.

There are things now maybe ruined by my hand not letting go of fear my eyes gazing into the storm giving reality to what ifs and hope nots.  Fear becomes us when we just cannot, will not let go and when we run around in panic that the settling of how things now will apparently always be.  Fear became me and changed me altering words and sight.  The disease of losing is fear not loss.  Loss is the lasting reality left in the wake of fear.

Grief is faith.  It is releasing what can no longer be had and opening to newness in time.  To trust his eyes standing there right in front of me.  He’s wet, too, dripping with the moment we are both in together.  And all of him, the eyes calm, him stained constant with the moment whispers comfortably, ‘Why are you afraid?’


FEAR is a thief with pockets full of surrender. ASSURANCE: II Tim 1:7; Mark 4:40