Wednesday, November 21, 2012

a few thoughts on fear, and The Beginning

It computes, I suppose, that Christians tend to be the most fearful people I know.  We are called to higher things, to fling ourselves headlong into Love himself.  And so of course our adversary would pinpoint us with fear like a sniper, shooting until we collapse.

I know that the opposite of fear is love, that perfect love casts it out, and that God = Love.  But  living this truth is akin to breaking out of chain mail armor lashed with bolts and locks galore.  It's the sort of thing you can pour your lifeblood into, burst a lung over--a real battle.  The journey from fear into Love.  I want to write without fear.  I want to live without it.  I want to run so far from fear that I crash heavily into Love, again and again and again.

My mother taught me the most about not being afraid.  I do not remember her being afraid this year, not once.  Not when her hair was falling out.  Not when the prognosis was 9-11% survival (that just annoyed her, and she would not talk about it).  Not when chemo was making her old.

During my forty days of wearing black I haphazardly wrote the story of how she died, frantically finishing just before I reemerged in color.  It is extremely unedited and unfit for anyone to read--I'd have to kill ten people at least.
Nevertheless, it is honest.  It is called My Vanquishing Vanishing Mother (I can never resist alliteration).
I may occasionally post slices of the story; here is the beginning.  It relates to fear:

           My mother, LeMei Carolyn Moore Littlefield, celebrated the New Year 2012 with gusto.  She always did, praying and reflecting and celebrating.  A few days into the year I was getting off work and about to go to Zumba class.  I saw that my sister Micala had called me four times and had texted me that Mom was in the hospital.  My Dad had also called.  I quickly called my father, panic rushing to my throat and stabbing my gut.  He told me that Mom had never gotten over her cold of three weeks and that her cough was worse.  She had gone to the local clinic that had immediately taken her to an ER in Denver, at St. Joseph’s hospital.  I was not to worry.  They were running tests to see what was wrong.
            I cried a few frightened tears and my roommate Nicole hugged me.  She advised me to still go to Zumba, which I did.  The next day I went up to the hospital after work.  My beautiful Mom was there.  She looked so vulnerable in a flimsy hospital gown, but wore a calm, reassuring smile.  I hugged her, and after a few minutes couldn’t hold back the tears.  She held my hand and told me that I don’t have to be afraid; fear is never of God.  She had some painful procedures, and asked me to step outside while the nurse took a bone marrow sample.  Afterwards she mentioned that it hadn’t been that bad; I probably could have stayed.  The early days seem like such child’s play in contrast to the end, where she couldn’t hide the pain anymore and held my hand so tight.

Mom told me not to be afraid, and she also commented that worry was a form of fear.  God had been talking with her about that.
I have not lived that well this year, but her words sank like granite to the bottom of my soul.  Now I'm not quite so easily swayed to worry.  I've got a bit more weight of glory in me.  Precious little, but I can feel it.  Maybe it's from her.

{On a side note, that first day was the only time I cried in front of her in the hospital.  
Fitting, surreal, nauseating.}

I was going to wrap this thing up with a few pithy takeaways to avoid fear but the words taste false.

Honestly, 2012 has left me with more, not less, fear.   I don't have more separate fears, but rather a heightened foreboding of their fulfillment.  The worst thing really can happen.  It does, all the time.  In another six months, who else will slip away?  There seem to be no rules.  The ones we have, that keep our universe bolted into place, have ample room for horror.
Remembered pain grows into an evil tsunami, lurching over me as it grows and shadows the future.

It really is true--only one thing remains.  Jesus.
Love himself.  He is with us.  He died to make that happen.  And whatever horrors happen, there is grace rippling alongside.  That's all I got.  It doesn't feel comforting, it doesn't feel kind, it doesn't feel good.

But He is more real than feelings and He is enough.

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