Fear and Finding out Why

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4  To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh…

Psalm 20:1-4   May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; may He send you help from the sanctuary, and  strengthen you out of Zion; may He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice.    

John 14:1    Don’t let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God and trust also in me.

1 Peter 5:7   Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you

As a child, I used to get very anxious in the Fall. September was a good month, I was excited about school, and seeing classmates again, but once October and the rest of the winter months came, I was anxious, an underlying nervousness. My mother was great about talking things out with me, and trying to determine why. But we never found a particular cause, although we touched on many. Leaves falling off the trees after showing off such vibrant colors and art, then leaving the area, dark, daunting, naked, and stark; the sunset early, about 4:30 pm in New England, and the mornings were darker and bringing forth the lighter, but much of my day was spent in grayness of early mornings or pending evenings. And it was cold.

It got worse as I got older. I felt frustrated not being able to pinpoint a cause and thus eliminated the nonsense of being anxious and stressed to something “invisible.” Was it Halloween? Was it the starkness of the leaves down, the gray skies, and it felt like a long time until the promise of brightness, Spring, flowers and loveliness again?

It suddenly dawned on me, that yes, although I did not like the cold and duskiness, grayness f impending snow, early evenings and later sunrises, I also had suffered a life changing event that caused me t have an increase anxiety. My father suffered a severe stroke when he was just 33 years old, and I was 11 years old. I happened mid October with the leaves fallen, the coldness rapidly coming, our family doctor would come to the house each evening in his black Lincoln, wearing his black suit and carrying his black bag, and asking in his deep, somber voice if I was doing ok while I sat outside until his visit was finished. Although I answered yes, my insides screamed “NO.” He’d pat my shoulder and go into the house.

My father had worked evening shift for most of my memory, which meant he left before we got home from school, and slept until after we left for school. He was home on weekends, and he was a very present Dad. He’d throw a foot ball or soft ball for us; he’d help us learn to hit the ball with a bat, and he helped me learn to ride a two wheel bicycle, he bandaged wounds as needed, and was wonderful.

And suddenly he was different. He laid in their bed, the house was kept dark with shades pulled all the time in that room, we were frequently reminded to keep our voices lowered so “Dad can rest,” and when we did see him, we could tell he recognized us, but he called us by the wrong names. Suddenly, I was Kitty—that was an older aunt, my brother was John, not Jim—John was his brother, and my mother was Mam, not “hon” or Mom (which he would call her when talking to us about her). This was scary.

I wasn’t sure my world would be righted again. He was kept at home for about a week, and then sent to the hospital. We were too young to visit, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to if he didn’t really know who I was. But the uncertainty lingered. Would he get better? Would things be okay, normal? (As I write of that time, I am reminded how remarkable different it is now in the treatment of stroke victims. Get them to hospital a.s.a.p., and give a clot dissolving med….).

When he returned home, it was very rare for him to not get a name correct. He spent hours and hours and days practicing walking up and down our hallway because he listed off to the right, and he was determined to walk correctly. He practiced all the areas he felt were weak, including applying weights to strengthen his leg muscles, squeezing a soft rubber ball, probably a racquet ball to strengthen his hands and arms, he lifted weights, light, then heavier. He worked so hard to regain all he had lost. I remember admiring that tenacity and determination.

Anyway, I was about 26-27 when I finally put my Fall apprehensions in full light. I had had all the pieces, I just couldn’t’ see the full shape of the puzzle. Along with leaves falling, early dusk, later dawn, was the memory of the Fall when I felt so scared, unsure, and confused. Once the realization that he’d had that life changing stroke hit me, I was able to decrease the anxious feelings that Fall would bring. I still don’t like the winter, but I do fine with Fall and the fact that I live here and not in New England is a great huge benefit for me.

I know God finally opened my eyes to why I dreaded that time of year so badly. Once the realization struck, then the verses of have no fear, do not worry, all meant more. I feared the unknown. I know I have issues with SADD, but living in eastern NC where we get one extra half hour of daylight seems to help a lot. It is also warmer, more temperate, and I can go out without usually complaining too much!

What a relief when God answered my prayer as to WHAT was causing my unrealistic anxiety. If you have worries, concerns, anxieties, ask Him to open your eyes. We have only to ask….

Thank You, God, that You have helped me beat back feelings of SADD, opened my eyes, and continue to steer me and ‘mybellaviews.’