Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WRANGLING WITH FEAR


Why is it we talk so little about being afraid? --Jennifer Louden

As often happens when I read Jennifer Louden, or listen to her, I experience a bell ringing when she puts her finger on something that is fluttering in the back of my mind but hasn't yet emerged into full consciousness. Fear was filtering through the depression I'm coming out of:  the underlying fear I can feel when I'm home alone at night, the fear that my business won't ever emerge from being a "hobby," the worry that my writing is really irrelevant and mediocre, the concerns about my children and now grandchildren, the occasionally nagging little thought that I've had so many sinus infections I may have to accept my doctor's suggestion about surgery, upcoming forays out of my cocoon-like comfort zone to take the train to see my granddaughter in her first high school play and then later to a writer's workshop even farther away, and even the little weekly nervousness that I will play my French horn poorly at Mass on Sunday or at choir rehearsal Monday night and I will be drummed out, even though most of us are volunteers.

I suppose even the most self-confident of us try to wrestle with our fears, either shoving them back down into our subconscious where they burble along with a nasty little murmuring dissonant tune or facing them and doing what we need to do even when we still feel afraid, and often discover that the reality was not so terrifying as we had imagined.  And perhaps if more of us are willing to talk about being afraid, we will rob our fears of the sting that lurks in the darkness when we cower before them alone.

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