There are days that I wake up and soon realize that I can’t do them. That the daily call for getting up and going to work and being an adult is far more that I can carry. The past couple days have been those days. “I don’t have the strength…”, I scrawled in black ink in my journal. “I’m frazzled. Every fuse is short.”, I went on. Both days I’ve felt the compelling need to give up. To hide in a dark closet and not give another thought to the day or anything calling for my attention.
It’s these days that I tend to hide. I sit quietly (more than usual) in my cube at work. I struggle as everything grates on me. The sound of voices, the emails collecting in my inbox. Everything is just another blade against my well being and another weight upon my soul.
I didn’t ask for strength or for help. I was perfectly content to dwell in my miserableness. I didn’t want to have the responsibility of being an adult. I wanted my dark closet. But some how strength found me. Both days. I came to the end of my days with far greater strength than I’d began it with.
Some days I don’t know where this strength comes from. Okay, I do, but you know what I mean. When you have your some days where simply getting out of bed and putting clothes on and grabbing your coffee is more than you can take, we often sit back at the end of these days and wonder how. How we got from sun up to sun down in one piece. Or perhaps a half dozen pieces rather than a thousand.
I’m no expert in this. Well…in the unable to do my days I am fairly proficient. But the finding and dwelling in the mysterious strength I am not. Some days the call of the dark, lonely, quiet place is stronger. Some days the strength doesn’t come. Those days are hard. Those days I don’t have the strength to write it out in my journal. To put a voice to it. Some of those days end with me weaker than when I began. In the thousand pieces where all I can do is collapse.
Some days I don’t even dare to hope to fly. Days when my weary hands leave claw marks from dragging myself through the day. Some days we wear weakness and some days strength mysteriously finds its way into us.
Fear is the dust bunny under your bed that when the light hits it, it casts a shadow 1,000x larger than its true self creating a monster in your line of vision.
Sometimes you walk a road for so long that it’s all you know. You’ve learned to deal with the pot holes, and the slowness. But sometimes you miss the rock and you’ve tripped. You look up at the blue sky and wonder if it’s worth getting back up on your feet. Worth the next step. You wonder how many exits you’ve walked past because you don’t seem to have the faith to just get off this dang road.
You feel the tears slide down your cheeks and they become harder, choking your throat, making mud quickly with the dirt below you. Why, you wonder, why do we continue this path when we know there is something better off it. Where is the faith you were promised if you just asked. You’ve lost count of the times you asked for faith. Yet you lie here with your fears slung over your shoulder. Every now and then you don’t feel their weight because once again they’re all you seem to know.
I’ve written about fear numerous times before. It was a word in 2010 that seemed to choose me. I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately. I’ve been thinking about the control it has over my life. Over Shawn’s & my life. I’ve wondered time & time again why we allow fear to dictate the path we stay on.
In his book, The Art of War, Steven Pressfield writes, “So if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.”
Shawn and I know there are steps we need to take to get off the road we’re currently on; we’re pretty sure that doing so would not only be good in the long and short term, but also beneficial in many areas of our lives emotionally, health-wise, & even spiritually. We we just can’t seem to. We get sidetracked by fear. We get waylaid by the what-if’s. So we stay here walking this miserable road.
In his book he also writes, “The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.”
It’s a constant learning process for me that most of the time the walking in faith, also means doing it with fear nipping at my soul. As he says, there is no such thing as a fearless warrior. Every day we do things afraid. We decide to get married & do so, we decide to have children & do so, we take the new job, we tell them we love them, we break off the toxic relationship. I think I’m coming to the realization that overcoming my fear, walking in faith simply means coming to the place of acceptance. Coming to the place where I no longer let fear dictate where I will go. If it’s important to me I can’t allow fear to be the voice that keeps me from doing it.
There are going to be a million things between now and the grave where fear is going to rear it’s ugly head at me and tell me that I’m much more comfortable where I am at. It’s going to attempt to swindle me into believing that the safety and security of my present is worth the miserableness I feel. I know it will do these things because it does it now. And I believe it.
I’m learning how to get to the place of accepting that I can walk in fear & faith at the same time. I still expect the roadsigns saying “ALL IS SAFE, YOUR FUTURE IS SECURE. EXIT NOW. FREE ICE CREAM & BROWNIES TOO.” We rarely get those signs, which means I have to tell fear that it is no longer the voice I’m going to pay attention to.
It seems that faith rarely overwhelms fear. It’s an act of doing it while we sweat & shake in our boots. I have a feeling that faith doesn’t necessarily come swooping in after those first few steps, in fact it’s probably a few thousand before we begin to trust that it’s all going to be okay.
“Quentin!” Irene stepped to him, caught his hands in her own. “Don’t you think that I have imagined every awful eventuality? A thousand times. So are we to be frozen in our fears? Are we to be what these monsters wish? Feckless. Fearful. Unable to move? No!” – Carole Nelson Douglas, Castle Rouge
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.