I think we all face little fears on a daily basis: Will that oncoming car stop or not? Will my boss think my idea is stupid?
And then there is a different sort of fear. The blood chilling, nauseating, night sweat-inducing fear for the life of those you love the most. If the last five years offered me anything, it was familiarity with this fear, which might be the greatest of them all. I have spent many early morning hours wide-eyed, staring into the darkness, consumed with dread. Never a religious person, I learned how to pray; fear brought me to my knees.
My first experience with profound fear was in the context of a relationship with someone who suffered from addiction. With time and help from others, I learned to let go of my fear related this person’s safety and well-being. I didn’t do so well with the fear of my mother dying. At times, I did transcend the fear but more often just couldn’t quite shake it. Fear of her death haunted me right through those final hours, my near-constant companion until the end of her life.
My worrying didn’t change the outcome. All my sleepless nights couldn’t save my mother, but they did make me tired, and some of our time together less enjoyable. In the face of her relentless, insatiable cancer, my prayers and all that modern oncology has to offer were helpless. A cure wasn’t to be found.
My fears never saved anyone, but my smaller worries have diminished in comparison. I struggled with anxiety prior to my harp performance at my friend’s wedding, and afterward could appreciate how it wasn’t such a big deal. I am now seeking other performance opportunities with both my harp and with my career. I have been better at speaking my truth at work and at home.
In my inability to let go of fear, I learned to live with my suffering. And now, the red thread has been cut, and I am emerging from the shroud greater courage than I have ever known.