I hate that when I say "I fear" to another person, its instantly swallowed up by something else... I feel like people treat fear the way one would treat a freaked out animal. You throw a cover over it, confine it & the animal usually calms down.
"Its not that scary."
"Lots of people have
a) felt this way
b) been where you are or
c) have feared but mustered the courage to go through it."
Another may say, "Feel the fear & do it anyway", adding on the fact that "You'll be glad you did!". Something I've learned from a lifetime of anxiety is that it is not logical or reasonable. It cannot be conquered by a veil of words. It remains just as alive under cover as it was without it. The only difference is that it's not so frenetic, not so raw, not so scary... to others... beneath the veil. But it doesn't change how I feel inside. It'll take more than darkness to calm me.
My sponsor came & sat with me after Mass today. Everyone else had left, but I just wanted to stay... I told her how I was afraid that I couldn't go through with the rest of the journey because I was so scared. I told her how exposed I felt in the attempt to express myself as a Catholic. Physical expression for me feels sacred & I tend to keep it to a minimum. I said "I fear", expecting to hear the same kinds of things I've heard from everyone else, but to my surprise, she didn't try to cover it up. She didn't offer a band aid or a 3 step solution. She just sat with me, let me cry & let the fear "be". She didn't tell me I had to make up my mind or that I had to take any action beyond feeling the fear & praying. God knows my heart afterall. I'm still afraid, but something has changed. There's no veil to blind or confine me. I still trying to get used to that...
Fear makes me feel like a leper in the family of God. I usually keep my fear covered & stay away from people... from within, I shout "UNCLEAN!" just to beat others to the punch. But Jesus talked to a leper. And He not only talked to him, but consented to heal him. He didn't berate, belittle or condemn him for being a leper... in fact, Jesus did something completely radical- He reached out & touched the guy. The leper didn't have to keep people away any longer. He didn't have to rend his garments or cover his face. He didn't have to live out on the fringe of community. He was free. So... what of me, Lord?!
Readings for 2-12-12