Tag Archives: fear

Reality Still

Shadow MLK
*

I’m not always the brightest bulb on the string. Sometimes I grope and grovel around to realize I must tighten my seat in the socket.

I occasionally misjudge – especially myself. Okay, I do that a lot, and can make myself fairly miserable in the process. Still working on NOT overthinking. My problem today is, again, fear – seeming like cowardice.

The latest shocker:

Meekness, non-violence is still often mistaken for weakness or cowardice. I recently confirmed this after yet another harsh self-judgement.

Digging into it I found the source of this particular fear; shame. I am sometimes ashamed for having occasionally responded to bullies and abusers ferociously.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.“*1

Today me having to continuously confront my potential for violence may surprise some. It’s true. Preferring to avoid confrontations developed from those fears.

Constantly developing my trust in God helps me overcome that reality as I practice the way of the cross – strength through nonviolence.

Horrifying world events, and like many others, being “one paycheck away from becoming homeless,” I too could be steps away from crossing the line into madness, committing atrocities, and make deadly mistakes. Daily I must carefully consider and choose my way.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” *2

That’s my reality today. More than ever before I thank God, the Source of strength I easily take for granted.

Gandhi strong

**

I can live with appearing cowardly. Being slower than many people I admire is okay. Sure, to be a great thinker of stuff like many of my friends would be wonderful. I’m not. But I’m not alone either. God uses flawed humans, our friends, our heroes to shine into our lives. So once in a while, I have bright moments too. We are continuously faced with choices. Today I choose to make friends with my fear.

lincoln enemy friend

Practice makes perfect.

 

Reblogged (edited) from What Next 2016/07/21

*1 Romans 8:1 (NLT)

*2 Philippians 4:6,7 (NLT)

Images courtesy *FreeNeoWallpapers **Gandhi and Lincoln Images courtesy

 

 

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Second Hand Rosie

Every thing in my cottage is mismatched, piece worked, and mostly vintage. Aside from a few family items, I acquired most everything I own in estate sales, antique stores, flea markets, etc. Like Second Hand Rose, “I rarely get a thing that ain’t been used.” Only I don’t feel abused.

I like the stories that my stuff generate. At this point in my journey it’s fun. This wasn’t always so.

Waiting for the microwave to announce my latte is ready, I wash the dishes in the sink. Memories flow from when I acquired a mug, a plate, a spoon. I remember buying the new sheers now covering my windows – and when my kitten chewed those pin pricks in the selvage.

Not that long ago household items, or rather the stories behind them used to send me into an emotional tailspin. A little further back household stuff could set me running, usually sceamin’ like the banshee, arms flailing as if swatting away a flock of crows – Hitchcock’s The Birds style.

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When I arrived here at the ranch, this sort of behavior upset the livestock. It was time I put all I learned over the years into practice.

Long ago, before I learned to run from the memories (figuratively speaking – mostly) I’d pretend them away. Eventually fear and anguish bound and locked away much of my memory. Modern medicine calls it Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (CPTSD).

By mid-adulthood I realized this skill had robbed me of much of the joys of my life. Since I clearly hadn’t gotten over it, I got help.

I worked for years with professionals that specialize in helping people with my symptoms. Finding the right help nor the work were easy.

I wanted to quit often. But I missed out on too many good times simply because I didn’t want to remember. I knew if I really wanted to experience “normal” I mustn’t stop the work.

**

I haven’t arrived yet. But instead of the memories dragging me away like an undertow, I can now stop them in place, sort of freeze the frame. At my age eccentric behavior isn’t unusual, so it’s all good. Most of the time I can now reason that what happened didn’t kill me and obviously it won’t stop me – without veering off course.

***

By the time I’d replaced nearly everything I ever owned I realized I had been surviving, not actually living. That’s not the life God wants for me. Sure, our early life was rough for my siblings and me. Sometimes it feels a little sad that I seem to be alone. Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe I’m leading the pack.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

 

*Header, The Birds image courtesy San Francisco Chronicle

***The Bird image courtesy Google

**Hitchcock image courtesy Jason Bovberg 

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Out of Hiding

In a recent conversation Ten-Year-Old and I discussed what to do in case of a threat.

We fondly reminisced how as a preschooler he loved hiding. We both admitted we still like to.

Without sparking unnecessary imaginings, we agreed upon several threats where  hiding (and whistling for your trained, pet dragon, of course) is his best first line of defense. Knowing this stuff is important.

So, you’d think I’d know better by now. And yet, during my day-to-day activities I somehow delude myself to think God’s got my back, but I’m in control of my life. Pfffffft! That’s dragon for “you idiot.”

I can think of several points in my history when, rather than risk anyone seeing that I wasn’t completely in control, instead of calling for help, I put on my game face and toughed out bad situations. I hid.

We all craft our secret hiding places knowing they won’t actually help us deal with genuine threats:

  • We stay in bed too late, forcing ourselves to rush – again,
  • We take another portion because it tastes good knowing our clothes are already uncomfortably tight,
  • We stop at the bar instead of getting home where we’re needed,
  • We take another dose of medicine even if it’s early,
  • Rather than saving, we buy yet another pair of shoes,
  • We simply deny anything scares us or that there’s any problem at all,
  • We stuff anger, not willing to risk making things worse,
  • We make excuses for abusers rather than seeing them as they are…

I’ve been there and done it all, a world-class hider. I know how easily we sometimes cause ourselves more stress, wasted time, or risk unnecessary hurt by standing against a threat alone rather than ask for help.

However, the momentous occasions when I called out to God for help were complete game-changers – life changers actually. Even when I didn’t believe He heard me – when I called Him, and listened for His answer, things worked out.

Decades later, He still works it out whenever I get over myself and ask Him for help.

Are you hiding? Don’t stay there alone. Call out for help.

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

Image courtesy Pixabay

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Scare Scars

When I was young, I adored watching Sci-Fi movies with my Dad. When he worked nights I took it to the next level. Monster movies and horror; Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Twilight Zone… they captivated me.

scared-pixabau

And then came bed time. I’d lay in the darkness terrified a monster would pop up beside my bed – all it would’ve taken to stop my racing heart. Pop! Ahhh…. {Hitchcockesque faces flash and fade into darkness}

A few times after Mom or Dad swept the room for monsters – hours after I should have been asleep – they announced there’d be no more monster movies. Too late. By then the monsters were in my head. For-ev-er.

And those old movies got nothin’ on today’s horror films; the trailers alone give me chills.

graph-kid-bing-jpegToday I stick with classic Westerns and prime time network shows. Seriously, grading on a curve, including my station in life and all that led to my present situation, I have solid grounds to be scared. Okay, icy-muddy ground right now. I need no additional stimuli to feel fearful.

So here’s the rub: I’ve been passionately pursuing relationship with Jesus for over 30 years. He’s proven himself faithful time and again.

“Then [Jesus] asked [His disciples], Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”*

And yet, sitting in my snug little cottage last night, a ceramic heater warming me, in the silence without a fire crackling I became very aware the wood supply was depleted. Worry, regret and anxiety began sucking the ambiance from the scene. I quickly became so distracted I’ll have to check Hulu to see who the bad guy was on Elementary, for crying out loud!

Without realizing it, I began brain-storming getting to the grove as soon as possible. Taking a sip of tea with my next thought, pain from my arms reminded me that won’t happen for several weeks and my mind spiraled from there – until the heater kicked in again.

kermit-money-pixabayThis is why Cole brought me the space heater saying, “The weather’s warming up. In the meantime you’ll be fine with this.” I however envisioned an electric-bill induced cash crisis and dismissed the heater for a couple more weeks – as I stressed my arms chopping more wood.

monster-pixabayIn truth I was afraid the little heater wouldn’t be enough, that I’d soon be cold, discontent or sick with endless sniffles – as if Cole doesn’t drop in to check on me every day or so.

Fear is a monster hiding under our beds. When we give it place it will rob our joy from even the best times. Father God knows what He’s doing. Just like a Daddy chasing away monsters so we can sleep, He sees to our every need.

fear-pixabay

Seriously, we can learn to recognize fear, confront it and stand against it. Granted, standing in the face of storms of life is often hard. Still, I’ve noticed when we stand against fear it dissipates. Same goes for hatred and want. That’s the kind of solidarity I’m talking about. And we start with standing and then take little steps forward – in my case with as little stumbling as possible.

Hours passed this morning while I processed my thoughts around this. I had spent yet another evening feeling discontent. But then I awoke happy, recognizing the sadness was actually fear in disguise.

Depending upon others, allowing them to care for me takes some getting used to. I’ll keep working on that. Meanwhile I’m cooking some popcorn. El Dorado is airing tonight!

“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” The Voice

*Mark 4:40 (NLT)

Graph image courtesy Bing

Other images courtesy Pixabay

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Shades

hands

Now that the mainstream media hype is waning somewhat:

News flash: I’m about as white (a shade, absence of color) as can be and my hair is red-gone-silver.

I don’t appear black, but often think I know how it feels. I don’t. I can only imagine. Still, I too grieve and feel resentful, angry for my friends that endure discrimination and insufferable prejudice sometimes solely because they aren’t “white.” Sure, that seems easy for me to say – so I say it often.

I pale (forgive the pun) in comparison to my friends with their dark shades, rich, deep skin and hair color. It’s okay, they tease me and I tease them – it’s all about the love. The skin cancers are the result of this girl with no self-worth burning herself in the sun for years, actually trying to look more like runway models I admired. Go ahead, yuk it up. I do – I’m in remission. Back when Twiggy and Katiti Kironde were “America’s Top Models,” I had distinctive curves – definitely not stylish. There wasn’t enough gauze and duct tape to fix that, people. We all have our self-image issues.

Much of my appearance comes from the gene pool I swam from, but that same family also raised me to honor and respect all life. My skin, but for my newer scars, brown spots and freckles, is pale. I never suffered from the on-going subjection to stigmas many of my friends do CONSTANTLY. Let’s try to forget the times we’ve been unappreciated for calling out prejudice; like asking why the person I shop with every week, the same store in our small town had to show I.D. – I was carded only once.

As an adult (rumor has it) I realize my skin is not black. My American life is easier, less fearsome than others basically because of my looks – and then that mouth (another subject entirely).

Y’all gotta see, black (a shade actually) is the presence of all color. Regardless of age, race, creed, color, country of origin or political views (which incidentally are as changeable as the wind – anyone else ever pay attention to politicians during election campaigns and then after they take office?), in that sense we are all black, brown, olive, red, yellow, white and albino.

kids sand

My point: We must not only stand in solidarity against this cleverly veiled evil, we must learn to move forward together. Until all lives actually do matter everywhere, in every heart,

Black Lives Matter

“My brothers and sisters, I know you’ve heard this before, but stop playing favorites! Do not try to blend the genuine faith of our glorious Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, with your silly pretentiousness.” James 2:1 (The Voice)

Still images courtesy of ABSFreePic

 

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Inertia

This might seem a bit off the wall, but go along with me here.

I don’t typically watch daytime television (but I listen to the news on the radio). This week I recalled recuperating from an injury a while back when I discovered Rosanne reruns – all afternoon every day.

That was not only a physically painful time, but as is typical, my sister Roan and I were in a turmoil together.

Roseanne-Jackie-roseanne-7192371-2560-1659

Watching Roseanne helped us laugh at our brand of crazy. We roared over Jackie and Roseanne’s interactions. We relate to that family.

Unlike Leave it to Beaver. Although we had our Eddie Haskells, my family was so not like the Cleavers. But Erin’s was.

leave-it-to-beaver-2-1000x600

So here we are, more decades later than I want to count, Erin comes home from working on Keira’s property – where her two brothers live as caregivers – steam rising from her collar. She was upset about her brothers’ input and critique about her work. Her takeaway statement for me;

“The whole time I was sweating in the yard, they were checking gravity, playing Wii in the garage!”

I confess, I’m a little ashamed at the level of comfort I got from the familiar scenario. But instantly I recalled the Rosanne episode where very drunk Jackie falls on her apartment floor. I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. Once aright Jackie said,

“Whoa, there’s gravity all over here!”

I also remembered Roan leaping over the back of the sofa and landing inelegantly between the couch and the coffee table. No help at all. Back then I was initially startled, then relieved the old girl wasn’t hurt, but then we laughed together saying,

“Forget gravity, we got inertia goin’ on here!”

Still biting my lip in the present I scanned my memories for something awful so I wouldn’t inappropriately laugh out loud at Erin.

I’m very familiar with sibling rivalry at its best – and sometimes worst. From my perspective I get it; Life is scary fleeting. As Keira, who had always appeared timeless, seems to be visibly aging right before our eyes, they’re all freaked out. The guys can’t understand the girls and aim their freak at them – and vice versa.

I also get how pointing out one other’s short-comings and mistakes comes easy. Searching beyond them can be tricky when we push love and respect to the back of the shelf.

There’s nothing funny about this past week. From my twisted family, in my mind today comparing the family of man and the horrors in Baton Rouge, Saint Paul, and now Dallas to Erin’s family is not that far a stretch. We’re all hurting, not sure what’s actually what, except that people died. Their lives are over.

Without a huge shove of love, this fearsome inertia will tear our family apart.

It’s all about making good choices. My choice going into the weekend is peace – love – family.

 

“Where do you think your fighting and endless conflict come from? Don’t you think that they originate in the constant pursuit of gratification that rages inside each of you like an uncontrolled militia?” James 4:1 (The Voice)

 

Free Rosanne image courtesy, QUOTESGRAM
Free Leave it to Beaver image courtesy Fame Focus

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