How are you? I was thinking about you, us, today. Our little group, if I’ve got it right, of people who are enamored of the ineffable, interested in matters of the soul.
See, this morning – out of nowhere – came the tiniest tweak to my emotional apparatus. It was so surprising, so welcome.
I’ll keep this brief. I have a Christmas to-do list as long as my arm, and I’m sure you do too. This urge to post may even be a ploy to postpone beginning an intimidating sewing project.
Yesterday, as I was driving home from work, my thoughts took a pitiful turn. There’s a challenge ahead of me to which I’m having a tough time rising. I’m feeling smaller, less than, weaker than it. I’ve never been a ball of fire, but at times I’ve had more confidence in my abilities.
Handsome Supportive Husband surmises I was a small woodland animal in my previous life. I thought of that as I fantasized about escaping into the woods and holing up in a delightful little earth berm. Picture, if you will, the kind of abode in which characters from the Wind in the Willows lived. That’s where my shaken spirit goes when life is scaring the snot out of me. Down into the loving arms of Mother Earth, embraced by the roots of a giant tree. In this imaginary abode is a teeny tiny braided rug in front of a crackling fire, a couple of wingback chairs, a mug, smaller than a thimble, filled with hot cocoa. If only I was as tiny as I feel. If only I was as tiny as I feel and I had enough seeds and berries stored so I wouldn’t have to go out again.
Huh, perhaps these first few icy winds trigger my fears, activate my instinct to hibernate.
Last night, on that short drive home from work, I spoke the pitiful thoughts I was thinking. I let it all hang out. Add to that, a dash of humiliation. It’s embarrassing after all to be afraid of normal life. I have a beautiful warm, safe home. The larder and wood box are stocked. There’s a strong, gentle man waiting to give me a big hug. The only reasonable response to this beautiful life, I chastise myself, is gratitude. So I feel silly when I I feel scared.
If anyone could see me driving these country roads, yammering to my maker, what would they think? I worry a little about that, but a car is such a wonderful container for raising the energy. Besides, if anyone saw me alone in the car, talking, they’d probably think I’m talking on the phone.
By the time I turned onto my road, my lamentations were winding down. I’d said my piece. My spirits tend to rise as I draw near to our home. In here makes going out there, worth it.
We had a usual sort of evening and I didn’t give my whiny drive home much more thought.
This morning, though, the strangest thought occurred to me as I was sipping my morning coffee.
“I could be brave.”
Truly, dear friends, courage is never my instinctive reaction. Forcing myself to do scary, intimidating things…motivated by fear, yes. Plenty of that. Prodding myself to place an awkward phone call because I’m afraid of the consequences of not placing the call is an example.
Doing a hard thing because I’m more afraid of not doing it, may look brave, but on the inside it still feels like fear. It is still fear.
The payoff for doing anything out of fear, even the most positive, productive act, is what? Relief. At best. That’s my big reward: phew, glad that’s over with.
“I could be brave,” I said to myself again, tasting the words.
A smile arrived. My chest lifted. Images of mountain tops, finish lines, a victorious me.
This feels entirely different.
Click the PLAY button to listen to In Case You’re Afraid.