looking through me

Tag: fear

freeing fears

I live in my head; ideas, dreams and perceptions swirl inside me stirring up angst and insecurity.

I bury the chaos in silence, but saying it aloud shifts the camera angle. The giant, menacing wolf hounding me is only a shadow puppet—a toothless imposter. Turns out my fears have enough merit to catch the eye but not enough substance to stand up under the glare of truth.

That’s the scam of fear. It thrives in darkness. It lives on lies: I am the only one who thinks this way, who feels this way, who struggles this way.

Voicing my vulnerabilities I break into a cold sweat. But when I form them into words and expose them to light, I find I am not unique. There’s nothing special about my anxieties. Sharing is hard; but the second, third, twenty-fourth time I say them out loud I wonder how they ever held such power over me. When I release my inner soundtrack, I hear how I’d stacked my rough cuts against others’ final cuts. I compared my interior to their exteriors. And they didn’t match.

Isolation feels safe, but verbalization strips away the mystery. That’s why I need community. That’s why I need to know and be known. That’s why I need a place where we peel back our polished fronts and see our commonalities . . . even when they’re fears.

In the security of love I state what’s in me. As fear slips out, hope echoes back.


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Oh, Brothers

I don’t know what triggered it. One minute I was on stage practicing with the praise band and the next minute I was hiding in the choir room hugging my knees to my chest, eyes pressed into kneecaps—sobbing.

I heard the door open and close. I felt arms encircle me.

There were no words. She knew.

The eldest had moved away. The middle wouldn’t be moving back for a couple months. I was brother-less and lost.

Somehow I thought even as the adults we’d become we would land in the same place. I thought enduring the middle’s out-of-state college years was the end. But now—right before his return—the eldest had moved 400 miles away for grad school. And I realized he might not come back. This distance might be the new normal, and I didn’t think I could bear it.

I did. Barely.

We established new routines of visits and phone calls. When he finished grad school and chose to accept a job in his adopted locale, I’d almost become accustomed to the distance. And when I moved out of state, it was the brothers’ turn to visit me.

There was something I didn’t know that night in the choir room. I had no idea how adaptable and flexible and creative the three of us could be. And while I still hope we find a way to narrow the distance at some point, I’ve found the fear of distance to be hollow. I had no idea the elasticity of our bond.


This post is part of the 31 Days: Family series. Read the beginning, and see a full index of posts, here.

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