Fear

It has been a while since I have posted. I try to only write when I have something to say. I often have the rumblings of a post floating around in the back of my mind. But it takes some discipline, not to meniton time, to put thoughts to print or a reader or two saying, “Where have you been?  I’ve missed you.” Well, the latter is enough to get me to sit down at the computer.

Waking up each morning, I roll over to look at a piece of art on my wall made by a friend of mine who died way too young. She was creative and funny and faithful and kind. The sort of friend everyone should have at least one of. The piece has her talented hands imprinted on a heart-shaped block of barn board with the quote, “Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.”

I look to that on the mornings the weight of the world seems too heavy to get out of bed or the ones that the sun and sky are so brilliant, you just have to. Its message is simple. I wish I could say I live by it.  But I fight the fear demons as much as a cat hates water.  Fear keeps me from flying, hinders my spontaneity and prevents me from seizing courageous opportunities.

The older I get though, the more I realize that time is short and my only promised time is now. I know that in theory.

I had an “aha” moment recently when I had planned a drive to West Virginia. My husband and I have a house there in the land of my people. He always flies and because I hate flying and love the open road and can leave when I want, come home when I want and pack what I want, I drive.

But this trip due to circumstances beyond my control like my daughter moving in with her husband and three boys and a bad cold and a cracked front tooth and some other miscellaneous roadblocks, I did not hit the road in time to make our weekend trip. We were not going. Then out of the blue my husband called and said he was going anyway. Alone. To my happy place. So happened I was on my way to the Social Security office for reasons that will remain unnamed other than the fact that it involved some medical benefits and a Social Security card I had never updated from Nancy Kyle Noble in 1975.

I hung up the call and pulled the car to the side of the road.  Leaned my head into my crossed arms on the steering wheel and I had myself a crying jag, as my mama would say. I cried for all the craziness in my life and him going on with our plans without me. I cried just because I needed to.  I was due a good cry and hadn’t had one in well over a year. I self-indulged a few minutes, then lifted my head, wiped my mascara stained face with my t-shirt sleeve and did something I have never done.

I dove in head first without a bathing cap or first calling the coast guard.  I went for it with little thought and less preparation.  At 1:10 p.m. I called United and secured a seat on the 4:20 p.m. flight. Got home at 1:30. No shower. No make up. I packed and was at the door when my husband got home at 2:30 to leave for the airport. Four hours later I was on our terrace, sipping wine and grilling salmon, lake water lapping in the distance.

Spontaneity–check. Action gratification–check. Lesson learned–maybe. But I nearly broke my arm from patting myself on the back all weekend for my carpe diem moment. A sign that a normal daily occurence in most people’s lives should be easier for me.  I needed to up my “eye on the prize” quotient and spend less time indulging habits and emotions that hold me back.

We celebrated a two-year-old birthday party last night.  My son’s baby boy.  Looks just like him and can drain a three from his kitchen foul line just like him. This child is full of smiles and love and lives in constant motion. In the midst of tiny footballs flying and basketballs bouncing and wide-eyed candle blowing, in midst of this untethered joy, my son looked at me with clear green eyes so earnest they could make Mr. Rogers look like a wily card shark and said, “Have you called your oldest friend lately? How is she?”  Now I pride myself in being a pretty good keeper-upper with my best-loved pals from childhood to present.  I tend to be loyal to a fault. But this particular person, I have let slip away lately, my life a little chaotic and all. “You should call her, ” he continued. “Life is short.”

And then my son the two time cancer survivor, father of this cherub of a boy with another baby on the way, pulled out his phone and read aloud this passage from a book he is reading:

“You know my young friend, I will be ninety years old next year, and life is still a surprise to me. We never know what will happen next, what we will see, and what important person will come into our life, or what important person we will lose.  Life is change, constant change, and unless we are lucky enough to find comedy in it, change is nearly always a drama, if not a tragedy. But after everything, even when the skies turn scarlet and threatening, I still believe that if we are lucky enough to be alive we must give thanks for the miracle of every moment, every day, no mater how flawed. We must have faith in God and the Universe, and in a better tomorrow, even if that faith is not always deserved.”

He looked at me and repeated,” Even when the skies turn scarlet…We must give thanks for the miracle of every moment, every day.”

This coming from my miracle of a son who has beaten all odds to be sitting at this table on his son’s second birthday.  Always looking forward, not back.  No fears of “what ifs” just relishing every “what now” he experiences.

I always say our messages come from unexpected messengers in our least expected moments. On my grandson’s birthday, my son gave me a gift. A stop me in my tracks gift to lift me up and take me away.

And maybe, just maybe, even on the next flight out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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