We know each other pretty well, don’t we, Fear? You’ve always known exactly the things to whisper to me to set the alarms off in my mind–whether they may be false or real–and I’ve learned what to say in response to send you running back to your hiding place.
But those were our old conversations. We’ve both grown up a bit, haven’t we?
You used to spook me with things like getting sick before a big test, or the prospect of it raining on my wedding day. Now, we’ve upped the ante.
I’ve built a life with a man I love more than the world itself, and together we brought a little girl into it who holds my whole heart in her tiny hands. I’ve fallen deeply and dangerously in love with my life and the people in it. Oh, Fear. You have me right where you want me.
Everything might be fine and dandy one minute; we’re on a lovely walk in the woods, hand-in-hand skipping along. Then you show up and, in a single moment, I’m tip-toeing on a wire carrying all the things that make up my world with a white-knuckled grip. One misstep, one gust of wind, one broken chord–and I lose it all.
That’s what you do, Fear; you turn love into something that could hurt. You take the most wonderful, magical things and expose their fragility. You show me all the ways that my world could fall apart.
You remind me of our mortality; mine, my husband’s, my parent’s, my children’s. You tap me on the shoulder when I’m paying bills to maintain our simple life and taunt me with numbers that just don’t seem like they’ll ever add up. You tear out the pages of my planners–doctor appointments and birthday parties and family trips outlined in detail–and scrutinize each one until they are barely visible under the scrawlings of “but what if?”
I could cower. I could live everyday in the lonely shadows you cast instead of stepping into the light of a life well-lived.
It’s tempting to never have to feel the pain of losing something because you were too afraid to possess it in the first place. Is it really “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” like Tennyson claims? Truthfully, I struggle with that question. But the reality of it is that I have loved now, and I could never trade this love for that freedom.
So, Fear, listen closely to what I’m about to say :: We. Are. Done.
Go ahead and whisper, or shout if you must, all the what-ifs. Lurk around every corner at all of my happiest moments. Try and get in my head; do your worst. Because I’ve decided that you are not coming with me into 2019.
You will not control me anymore. You’ve tried to toss me around in whatever direction you please my entire life, but I’m telling you right now that I’m stronger than you. Why? Because I have a faith on my side that can walk all over you, Fear. And guess what that faith is rooted in? Love; the same love that binds me to my husband, and to my daughter, and to my unborn son. This is a faith that stands up against everything.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
Turns out that my secret weapon is the very same weapon you’ve tried to use against me my whole life. Every time you try to remind me of the pain this love could cause, I will remind myself of the joy it has brought. Every time I begin to hear your whispers, I’ll drown you out with the laughter of my children making memories. Every time I catch you creeping in, I’ll block the doorway with praise and thanks for all that God has given me.
Call it a mid-year resolution. Call it a lifestyle change. Call it a break-up. Call it what you will. I call it long overdue.
Goodbye to you, Fear.