I feel a little embarrassed talking about a fear that I have just identified. There are are so many ultimate fears that I could have right now, and this one seems so petty. Nevertheless it has emerged, and like most fears needs to be faced.
My fear has to do with security in my day to day living. For over five months now I have been generally house bound. It's not that I don't go out of the house. I go over to the campus; I go for walks; I go to the hospital and and doctor's office (though these excursions are not generally happy); and I have occasionally gone out for a meal. But my place of security is at home -- close to Sharol, close to my bed, tethered to my familiar life patterns, my medications and all the things that give me comfort. When I'm sick I just want to be home and close to the familiar.
As the days have progressed I now recognize that I've grown dependent. And with this dependence has come a fear of being away from home for too long. Thinking about travel for more than a few hours makes me anxious.
I've done a lot of travelling over the years so these are new feelings and they have come quite unexpectedly. I feel foolish even admitting this reality.
But there it is. And like any fear it's important that it be faced.
I realized how afraid I was when I planned a whole day away with special friends this past Saturday. I looked forward to the day, I really enjoy these friends. But as the day approached I felt a growing anxiety. What if something happened? What if I got half through the day and didn't feel good? I felt a little out of control and more than a little dependent.
There are many little ways that life changes when you are facing sickness and death. I've now learned that new fears can pop up, along with a myriad of other challenges to the daily faithfulness to which I feel so strongly called. Things that have never bothered me much before may now feel like enemies.
So Saturday I faced a new fear. I spent all day with my friends and I stared my fear in the face a number of times. When I returned home late in the evening, I realized that I had healed a little. My dear friends didn't know it, but their tender and thoughtful care was the love that was casting out my fear.
I wonder what other new surprises and fears I will discover in the weeks ahead, or how God will guide these unexpected bits of my complex journey. I want to come to the end with strength and courage. But life isn't always linear. There can be a jumble of twists and turns. I realize that maintaining my balance depends on my willingness to face the unexpected with humility and transparency, as well as endurance and fortitude. Stubborn pride is never a good companion. It only reinforces my anxieties.