Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Okay, the reason I asked for that is because I was afraid all the time. Afraid of so many things I can't possibly list them here. But I felt I had every right to be afraid given the horrors I withstood in my life. The trap to that kind of thinking, however, is that while I may have had justifications for my fear, being understandable by anyone's standards, the fact remained that I felt I couldn't move forward in my life in so many areas that I felt downright boxed in by the time I said my little prayer. That's where fear leads us eventually...in a very small box, no elbow room, no breathing room, no room to move at all. Its horrible. And small...
So you'd figure that praying for a life without fear would alleviate fear, yes? Well, yes and no. Here's the rub...you actually have to face your fear, then walk through it. Well, when I got to that part I backed up a step or three, and thought that wasn't fair. I didn't sign up for that. My thought was the fear would just be magically, (miraculously?), lifted from me, and viola! All cured. Yeah, I know, only in our dreams, and the movies. But that didn't mean I still didn't want it that way. Who doesn't?
I also didn't know that my first step in facing down my fear would also lead me to love, trust, and all that good stuffs. I had no clue the opposite of fear is love. I thought it was hate, but at the time I had hate in me, and as I examined and dissected hate, I found hate wasn't the bottom line. Fear is. Hate is born from fear. Where there is fear, love is not, and vice versa. It is an impossibility for the two to live in the same space. Don't believe me? Examine it sometime. If you're anything like I was it'll blow your mind I'm sure. My brain did a big ERT when I realized it.
In fact, all the resentment, all the rage, the little jealous feelings, envy, all of those ugly little things we experience and find in us are born from one place. Fear. It is at the root of all our beastly behavior. The good news is, once realized, fear can be overcome. It just takes a bit of practice. Okay, it took a crap load of practice for me, but I was not okay by a long shot. Just ask some of my family members.
Because I have walked through some pretty ugly things in myself, I am more tolerant, loving, understanding, etc., to someone else I see behaving in beastly ways. I know what they are need of because I know what I was in need of at the time I had it in me, and still come across inside me when certain situations arise as a trigger. I now look at these situations as a good thing, if not necessarily desirable or comfortable. But I recognize now they are helping me stretch, love, gain more understanding, as hard as they may be to walk through.
I see the presence of fear, in whatever form it takes, as a call for love and reassurance. Although, those gifts aren't always welcome. In fact, there are a lot of folks who will find it offensive. I know that sounds weird, but take my word for it. They will be offended by you giving love in the form of reassurance. Yet there are those who will accept and receive it with a grateful mind and heart. I am one of those people. Sometimes, tough love is the way to go with folks, but I even see that as a form of reassurance. I'm strange that way. If love is truly backing it, then being tough with a person is saying you believe in them. It all really depends on the person and the situation at hand, and the kind of fear they are dealing with. It's why I lean on love so heavily for wisdom.
Yet way more than folks being offended by my giving of reassurance, what shocks me every single time, no matter the situation, knowing what I do, is people's all out refusal to give reassurance. I'm not sure why, but it boggles my mind. When I am afraid, and actually need reassurance, and even ask for it verbally, more often than not, sadly, I will be met with anger, and refusal, like I have just insulted the person I am requesting it from to such a degree as to be an unforgivable sin. I have stood absolutely stunned by such refusals made in anger. More times than not I have had to resort to prayer, asking God to comfort me, and restore me to my right mind. Because it's for sure I know I am in fear, and I know what I need when I'm in it.
I have asked many what made them angry about my request, and they invariably say they felt I just attacked them. I'm like, huh???? I'm asking you for comfort and reassurance, and you get angry, say ugly things, but I'm seen as the one who attacked you, which justifies your anger toward me?? I don't get it. In the moment I don't get it...
In truth, when I'm calmed down, and back to center, I do get it. It is their relationship with fear, not with me. How they just treated me, is how they treat themselves when they are in fear, times ten. How often did I get angry, and exhibit that anger, when I felt fear in me. Too often, too many times. I still find myself doing it now and then. I was not kind to myself at all when I was in fear. More often than not I called myself all kinds of names for being afraid. I don't do that anymore, and I certainly don't do it with another.
There are those who have so much fear, and need reassuring on a constant basis, but will do nothing to stand up, face it, and walk through it themselves. Their needs are too great for anyone to handle, even God, as long as they refuse to even admit they have them. There are those who just need a bit of a leg up and then their good. There are those who need the touch of a hand on the back, or a tender voice with kind words, or a bit of encouragement to keep going. I believe we all need these things. We all have our days when we are plagued by doubts, and we waver, and it's kind words that suddenly come our way to let us know we aren't alone, and we can do what we are doing. We can take that next step. That we are okay, and it's all okay.
I have grown to accept fear as a part of life. Life isn't lived without fear. Fear isn't our enemy, being the opposite of love. It is our greatest teacher regarding love. Our relationship to it, in ourselves and in others, is the thing. When we approach fear with love, as we would a child who just awoke from a nightmare, or is convinced there are monsters under the bed, fear leaves the child, and the room is safe once more. But more importantly, the child learns that fear, in the end, is nothing. Just something we made up in our head. Giving someone reassurance is letting them know that what they fear isn't there. There are no monsters under the bed.