For When There Is Fear


 

"I will always have fear, but I need not be my fears, for I have other places within myself from which to speak and act." - Parker Palmer

"More than anything, fear blinds..." - Mark Nepo

To be a person
of faith, is to consent
to life lived blind as a bat,
to be a people of light
walking in darkness.

Faith will teach you
what you need to know
about soaring at night,
listening for the echo
of your own prayers
reverberating back to you.

The way forward is revealed,
always, in relation to the
place where you are.
- K. Chripczuk

I have felt a heaviness of fear lately. Fear for my not-old-enough-to-be-vaccinated-yet children who are back in school. Fear that schools will not be able to stay open as the Delta variant sweeps through. Fear of the life choices I've made - the way they've produced their own unyielding realities. Fear for the level of chaos, death, and destruction rampant in the world today. Maybe you have been feeling it too?

Yesterday, my thirteen-year-old son said it feels like the world is falling apart. My fifteen-year-old daughter replied, "It always feels like to world is falling apart."

He is right. She is right. It is both - the falling apart and the fear of falling apart and the reality that both are and ever shall be. And, so, we acknowledge the fear that is with us, like the sleeping cat in the chair beside me.

But, as Palmer says, we don't have to speak from that place. We don't have to live from there either. While fear may be present and it is not good to pretend it isn't so, it also can be a blinding and binding place to live from. As so, we're invited to step out, even in the midst of great darkness. To beat our wings and soar as though even darkness cannot separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Or, to put it another way, the darkness cannot separate us from the love of God that is with us and for us.

So, name your fears Little Ones, then set them down to rest on the table or chair beside you. Do not be afraid to step out into this dark night, for you were made to shine.

With love & joy,
Kelly

Love Leads Us Out, Love Draws Us Back Again



* This piece of writing is 6 years old. Much has changed in those years and much has stayed the same. 

All four kids took turns rummaging through the large metal pot that my husband uses to store old nuts, bolts, washers, and nails. After choosing their wares, they made robots, tiny friends composed of wing bolts and screws. They each made three or four and named them based on appearance and abilities. 

Then Solomon made a “weapon,” something like nunchucks, by tying nuts on either end of a piece of string. He practiced throwing it until he could get it to wrap around a tree. Then, the other kids joined in with their own string and nut creations. Later, Solomon tied a washer in the middle of the string and, pulling the two ends taunt, observed the washer spinning first in one direction, then another.

This fall, my four kids will be spread among three different schools. Two will climb on separate buses within minutes of each other, heading in opposite directions. Then the other two will ride with me in yet a third direction for drop-off. 

I have three separate Back to School nights listed on the calendar, all requiring babysitting. There are two other Meet the Teacher events that include some, but not all, of the kids. I have large sheaf of papers pinned to the bulletin board filled with teachers’ names, room numbers, and other essential information.  

I feel a bit like that nut tied in the middle of the string, spinning first in one direction, then another, as my kids fly out into the world. How lucky we've been, piled together for the summer, like those nuts and bolts in that old, metal pot. We've clattered around the house and yard together, merging and separating at will. With fall, we're all flung a bit wider, but I'm grateful, always, for the bonds of love and mercy that draw us back together again.