06 July 2010

Finding Fear

I’ve been stuck, stuck for a very long time and I know that the muck that I’m stuck in is fear, but knowing the composition of the muck and removing myself from said muck is a battle I’m still fighting. I’ve been trying to identify the origins of those fears in order to move from them ...

Between the ages of approximately 5 to 8 years, I lived in Illinois with my parents and younger brother and sister. With my father being the preacher we lived in the parsonage of a beautiful little county church both of which were located in the heart of “tornado alley”. I realize that many, many states have tornado alley’s but this was mine.

It’s funny that I remember the church, not all of it but how it looked from the outside. You see, I have virtually no memories from the time spent in Illinois but that is where I acquired my fear. Many things happened to me in that place – things that should never happen to a child, things unspoken, and those things are why I have so few memories. I remember enough to know that I don’t need to remember any more. I’m at peace with that part of my life and the little girl that was me is at peace too. But besides the fear of those horrible things (as if that wasn’t enough), I remember growing one of my greatest fears during this time … my fear of the wind.

I remember being that little girl and playing outside in the back yard, next to the corn field that rose so high I was told I would immediately get lost if I entered it (more fear) and during that play looking to the sky and seeing on the horizon the clouds starting to gather, dark and foreboding, bringing the wind and the storm. My stomach would knot and I remember feeling sick and thoroughly terrified of what was careening across the sky to where I was. I had no one to talk to about my fear as every time I tried I’d been told to “stop worrying, remember your brother and sister are looking to you so if you’re scared they will be too is that what you want?” Of course it wasn’t what I wanted so I kept it all inside – I tucked it in deep alongside the other fear (of those things unspoken) and begged that the God that was supposed to love me, would keep the storms away, to ease my fears but once the clouds were in the sky, the storm was already on the way and not even God could stop it.

My mother took the tornados seriously and night after night in the summer we would be swept into the cellar under our house to wait out the storm. I’d literally crawl into my parent’s room and lay down on the floor beside their bed every time the wind howled at my window, I was forbidden to wake them because of the wind - I had done it too many times before - but I was close and ready to go just in case. I remember the cellar and the radio being on and the reports and alarms that would sound, knowing that each time another tornado was swirling very nearby. I remember waiting for the top of the house to fly off and to be carried away by the storm, never to be seen again. Much of my fear was that I didn’t know what would happen to me and where I’d end up.

We were never directly hit by a tornado but saw the results of them time and time again. The cattle in the wrong field, the corn stalks driven through trees and stuck so firmly into the dirt road to our house that you could hardly pull them back out, the barns and buildings leveled or just lifted and placed a mile down the road with no apparent damage. Tornados were terrible, to my little self they were incomprehensible and that scared me most of all, those unknowns and what-ifs.

So, here I am now some 40 plus years later and I’m still wary of the wind. I’ve learned to love thunder and lightening and the rain that often comes with them but the wind is still not my friend. It unsettles me and rattles my soul. I work on the 25th floor of a 53 story high-rise and when the wind really blows, the building creaks. I know that it must and it’s a good thing that it does, it keeps the building from breaking in half so I get it, it’s okay to hear the creaking and feel the subtle swaying, but oh, how it makes me hate the wind. I don’t fear it when I’m in the building at work but I hate it - I tend to fear it when I’m alone and it’s dark. It’s not the same type of fear as that little girl experienced but it is fear still.

As I had written in a previous post, I realize that I am afraid of not being afraid and that sounds so crazy even as I write this, but it is my truth at this time in my life. My fears have been building for a long time and they hold very strong fortresses within my heart. Some of them were created as protection from those things unspoken, and some came to be by lack of proper attention and appropriate care for the little girl that I was. I don’t fault anyone in this fear building process, including myself, but I am recognizing the bases upon which they were built. I think that only by identifying the root causes of my fears will I be able to truly attack the hold they have over me and in turn free myself from their suffocating grip.

I want to feel freedom from the fear. I want to truly live my life from a point of love rather than fear. And I want to reap the rewards awaiting my arrival at joy.

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