You can’t be brave if you’re not scared

I didn’t regard myself as a fearful person. Spiders terrified me, but they terrify many of us. That’s not real fear is it? Relationships were scary, but most of us find those challenging don’t we?   I remember a friend saying all fear was at root a fear of death.  I couldn’t understand what he meant, but his words lived with me.

What brought me face to face with my fear was the illness of my child.   As I sat in the ambulance, the little body limp, I lifted the small frame and prayed. He didn’t belong to me; he had been loaned, and I placed him in God’s hands.   We returned home together.

A light went on in my being.  The illness revealed fear inhabited me.  I describe it akin to a secret lattice-work that occupied my whole being.  I recognised how my responses were born from fear.

(A large Huntsman spider I cohabited with in Australia)

There are moments in life when what has ruled inside us externalises and becomes clearly identifiable.  I acknowledged my fear and faced it.  I determined to monitor my responses, to fight and sweep it from my life. I told friends; I sought counsel; I asked for help; I asked for prayer.

Am I still afraid of spiders?  No.  I don’t like them. I wouldn’t want to touch them or have them on my body, but I cohabit with them and am at peace in their presence.   I recognise their contribution in the home and garden.   Does fear still raise it’s head in my life? Yes, but I have found tools to deal with it.

Do I think all fear is at root a fear of death? Yes I do. I find it interesting the book I have written concerns the one thing we never talk about–dying and death. The great taboo, because of course, we believe we will not die. 

Not all fear is unhealthy.  Fear of being burnt keeps us from placing our hand in a fire.  It protects us from damaging ourselves and others.  But sometimes we must face the fear that stops us from functioning well, screw up our courage and be brave.  It is okay to be scared, but as you face destructive fear and find a way through, award yourself a metaphorical medal for bravery.  You might feel exhausted and spent, but you will have overcome and I applaud you.