“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” - Marie Curie
Yes, sometimes I am afraid. Actually, fear takes a large part of my life. I wish it didn’t, and it’s something I’m working on – daily. Hourly. By the minute.
When I am not covered in spilled juice or bargaining with a toddler, I find a moment to question. I question why this fear is so strong? Why do I have to be afraid?
Well, without digging too psychologically deep here, there is so much junk going on in the world. Politics are insane. Criminals and creeps make the news daily. And thank goodness the Internet is here to make sure my anxious mind doesn’t miss any of this.
Seriously, it’s hard being a parent. It’s hard to realize some, (OK most), of the things my parents said, are actually coming true. Hindsight is 20/20, and for some reason my brain rationalizes that if I worry, it somehow will prevent the said-worry from happening. Because that’s logical. Except that it’s not.
Being pregnant with my first child, I was so excited. I was completing my yoga teacher training, and my trainer was a certified doula. I signed up for her birthing breathwork class. I had my birth plan, none of which included half the interventions that actually ended up happening. Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned. My baby was breech at 37 weeks and I was told I had to have a Cesarean section. I had to look that up, as I really had no idea what that meant. It wasn’t in my birth plan.
I worked so hard those last few weeks to turn my baby, convinced I could keep the perfect birth I had imagined. I did specialized “breech baby” yoga, I tried music on my lower belly to pull her down, I used ice packs – you name it, I did it. But she didn’t turn.
The night before I was scheduled to go in for my surgery, I was terrified. I actually didn’t want her to come out. It was shear panic. This baby I had been waiting so long for, anticipating her miraculous arrival, well, I didn’t want her to come out. I cried the whole ride to the hospital, through all of the prep, through the anesthesia, and even more when I heard her first wail (though, this last time out of joy).
Yet, I made it through.
And while I was so grateful the surgery was over and she was out, I had no idea the hardship after a Cesarean, physically and emotionally. The trials and tribulations of latching, nursing, over supply and engorgement were nothing to the challenges and the emotions of the school age children I have now. But I didn’t know that then. And I didn’t need to. Just like I don’t know what the future will bring, despite my worries telling me otherwise.
But I cannot be afraid of what is to come.
Sometimes it’s hard to try to imagine the possibilities of the future, you know, so I can head them all off and be prepared. However, especially when I am pretty confident I am equipped for what is coming, it is almost a guarantee I am thrown a curve-ball. And the curve-ball is never what I had anticipated. In fact, it is so far out of left field that I am knocked over, cursing myself for looking so intently at right field. So, I try not to worry. I try not to be afraid. Although, some days I am better at it then others.
I do believe we are only given what we can handle.
And when I think too hard about that statement, and all the hardships and loss other people experience, I can easily start to doubt the verity of that proclamation. But then, I remember that I can only judge from my experience. And until I have a situation in which I am given more than I can handle and do not make it through, I will continue to have faith that I can handle what comes before me. (Although, I’m not asking for any challenge!)
We don’t know why our hard times come upon us. I do believe sometimes it is so we can help ourselves, to grow, to evolve. And sometimes it is so we can help others. And most of the time it is all of the above, it just may not be as clear as we had hoped. You know, this huge neon flashing sign that reassures us this is helping Sally in Oklahoma, plus 30 bonus learning points for us. Unfortunately, it is not always so obvious.
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid.” – Frederick Buechner
Life is sometimes scary.
Really scary. As much as I try to keep positive and look at the good things in front of me, I am still am realistic. There is a lot of fear and sadness. Yet, I lived through a lot of it already. Somehow I made it through. All of us have. I wouldn’t have thought so in the middle, but that’s why it was the middle. It turned out I could handle it. I have to believe this is part of my journey, the happy and the sad.
Fear is a normal part of life. It is a biological response that keeps us safe. It just can’t stay too long. It impedes our growth, our ability to trust, to love, to live.
So, sometimes I am afraid. And sometimes I just have faith. A lot of times, it’s a balancing act of both.