Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying: Don’t Be Afraid
Ok. I won’t be afraid.
If you are afraid of something, you just are! It doesn’t do any good in any form to say “don’t be afraid.”
And there is no way for a person who is afraid of something to be comforted by someone who cannot identify with what they are afraid of. Truly, I am afraid of flying. I am not afraid of dying; Nom I am afraid of FLYING.
If I die, okay. But flying; small, enclosed space, high in the air, where I have no control, I cannot see if there will be bumpiness or sharp jolts or turns, and I cannot get off whenever I want. Once they close that door, I am going up. This is terrifying to me.
Once, on a flight to Venezuela with my sister and young infant daughter, there was a scene in the Miami airport during our layover, I am not allowed back in any airport in the state of Florida. I was physically incapable of getting on the plane. Actually, I was hysterical. If memory serves, I recall Stacey forcing Bloody Marys down my throat, and some screaming and she may have slapped me once or twice. Vaguely, I remember screeching, “Just go without me! I will live here! I relinquish custody of the child to you!”
My husband is afraid of snakes. I had a pet snake as a girl. They do not bother me in the least. Justin on the other hand, can’t deal. Recently our neighbor called and told me her husband was out of town, and there was a snake in her house, could Justin help her? Justin would be the opposite of help in this situation. We had a snake in our yard once. When Justin was finished with it, all that was left was an enormous crater where he had repeatedly shot round after round into, what very well could have been, a chameleon. He blew the reptile into oblivion. Truly this is all I could think of when Stephanie asked for Justin’s help, that and her beautiful, new, hardwood floors.
I had a pet snake as a girl.
They do not bother me in the least.
Justin on the other hand, can’t deal. Recently our neighbor called and told me her husband was out of town, and there was a snake in her house, could Justin help her? Justin would be the opposite of help in this situation. We had a snake in our yard once. When Justin was finished with it, all that was left was an enormous crater where he had repeatedly shot round after round into, what very well could have been, a chameleon. He blew the reptile into oblivion.
Truly this is all I could think of when Stephanie asked for Justin’s help, that and her beautiful, new, hardwood floors.
And I am not making fun of him. But I cherish Stephanie’s friendship, and when confronted with a snake I can’t be sure what Justin will do. Just like he can’t be sure that I won’t be mauled by the TSA in any given airport. These are our fears. The commercial for Samuel L. Jackson’s “Snakes on a Plane” is enough to drive Justin, and I stark raving mad.
If you are reading this between the hours of 7:00 am -8:30 am on Thursday, 10/29 central time… I am on a plane.
The 5th plane this month. God willing I am calmly sipping a bloody mary, slightly floating on half a Xanax. Don’t judge me. It takes what it takes. I want to go on this trip. It is parent’s weekend at our son’s school. There are lots of festivities I don’t want to miss. And this is what it takes. Yes, I will pray. Sure, I have hopes of Jesus bringing us smoothly into each airport. No, I have no desire to be tazed by airport security or for my children to see footage of me on the news, being carried away in a straight jacket. But somethings are out of my control.
And at the core of a lot of fears perhaps the issue is being out of control.
You can’t control spiders, snakes, turbulence, or the malady of things people are afraid of. My daughter is horrifically terrified of baby dolls. You can’t make her not scared of them. Their lifeless eyes make her lose her ever loving mind.
And this is that time of the year. Scary stuff on lawns, and on the television. And stuff is more terrifying than it used to be. The commercials for PG-13 movies are scarier than the original rated R flicks of the 80’s. And I don’t see us reverting to the days of old. So we each have our fears, and I feel we do well to encourage but not treat others as petty in that which terrorizes them. And I do aspire to be less fearful and more trusting of God’s goodness.
Our oldest son John is not a fearful person.
It is odd. He likes to go to our ranch alone. Nap under the open sky, wander, barefoot, through the high grass after midnight, tracking hogs, deer, killing rabbits with his bow, and cooking them over the campfire. Once he and a friend were going to the cabin to cook out and watch movies. I overheard John say, “Let’s rent ‘The Cabin in the Woods!'” And his friend balked, “Let’s not! Since we will be staying IN A CABIN… IN THE WOODS???” John didn’t see the correlation. As a parent, this makes me nervous. A certain amount of fear is healthy. Right? One time after he and Luke returned from an overnight stay at the cabin Luke told us that John got up at 2 am and left to “wander.” We protested. “John! Aren’t you afraid?” and he said, “Of what?” We cried, “The list is lengthy! Snakes? Wild hogs? Coyotes? Ax murderers? Tapeworm from an undercooked jackrabbit? Any number of creepy things that go bump in the wilderness at 2 am????” And he said…
“Nah. Good wins.”
And he would be right. Dyslexic as they come, John struggles with his studies and works harder than most I know. But what is good, what is true, and what is brave – he fully comprehends. And I admire this. I aspire to be more like this. And I fully intend to remember this, to strive to be more like sweet John – as soon as my feet are firmly planted on solid ground.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
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