everybody is scared of something.
"Mama, everybody is scared of something."
He is almost 7. But he has always been older. He was my baby not so long ago. His voice is funny, because a long expensive relationship with the orthodontist has already begun. And he looks old, not like a baby. My heart is in my throat. Because I already know where this is going.
"I'm scared of the dark and of riding my bike up the hill."
He was fidgeting, because kids always fidget. I am not sure if it is because they are endless balls of energy or because they are uncomfortable in their skin. Of course we are all uncomfortable in our skin, kids just don't know yet they should hide it.
"What are you scared of?"
I can't stop the tears. Because the fear is so strong. "I'm scared of something happening to my kids." I am biting my lip. I am wiping tears from my eyes. I am sleep deprived. I keep picturing Mrs. Weasley, trying to clean the boggarts out of the cabinets. But she can't, because boggarts are shape-shifters, they take the form of your worse fears, and you have to be stronger than the fear to get rid of the boggart. And every time she opens the cabinet door, she sees one of her children injured, or hurt, or dead, and she is a pile of tears and freaking out on the floor, unable to conquer the boggart, unable to conquer the fear. And I am now Mrs. Weasley, because I have said it, and I can't stop the string of thoughts, of pictures. And I am nearly sobbing.
He gets it. Because he has always been older then he is. Because his heart is big. And while he will not truly get it until the day a nurse sets his own child in his arms, and an instant exploding love fills his heart, he gets it.
"Like us getting hurt..." I am nodding and wiping tears, "or kidnapped... or sick... or dying."
"Yes, because I love you boys so much."
He smiles, his crooked teeth, those eyes that light up when he smiles. "Yah, everybody is scared of something." And he is off. Off to work on summer homework pages.
But I have said it, I have had to think it, and now the images and thoughts they flood my eyes, they cloud my mind. Of course the fears, they are always there, but they are normally batted down with busy life.
And there are a lot of worries, a lot of fears. I have a mortgage and another possible housing bubble. I have a stressful job with a crazy schedule. I have a bank account that nears zero every other week and kids with ever growing demands and expenses. I have a marriage, a scared relationship, that doesn't nearly get the attention it should. There is grocery shopping, and potty training, and the one side of the house that never got painted last spring. Health care expenses, and flat tires, and furniture my rowdy kids keep breaking. And all of these things, they sit back seat to that fear that at any moment, something could happen to my kids.
Something. Anything. An array of seemingly impossible hurts. I read about them, I hear about them, friends have had to live through them. And I can not control any vast majority of them. I can teach them to be safe. I can teach them to be kind. I can pray blankets of protection around them. That's all I really can do. My control ends there. The fear could be crippling; the lack of control suffocating. The world we live in, it is scary, it is terrible.
But there is a still small voice resonating inside of me, "Do not be afraid."
There is plenty to be afraid of. Do not be afraid.
Frederick Buechner said, "Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid."
And this world we live in, it is terrible. But it is also beautiful, devastatingly beautiful. And my boys, they are beautiful, insanely incomprehensibly beautiful. And we can not, I can not live in fear. Do not be afraid.
I am not in control, but I know The One who is. And those hands, the ones that shaped the world they are holding me, holding my boys. Do not be afraid.
So today, I choose to live in action, in love, in beauty. I choose to dance in my underwear in my living room, and take my boys to the park. I choose to read Pete the Cat for the 484th time. I choose to let them lick the cookie batter beaters, and ride their bikes around the block. I choose to kiss sweaty heads, and hold dirty hands. I choose to not grumble about cleaning pee off of EVERY SINGLE SURFACE in my bathroom. I choose to find joy. I choose to search for joy. I choose to not be afraid. I choose to live. I choose to let my boys live, in this terrible and beautiful world, in this terrible and beautiful life, live fully and without fear.
And Asher is right, everybody is scared of something. But that fear, it does not define us. It makes us add to the beauty, add to the love.
“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you.
Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don't be afraid.
I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you. There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.”