"Nothing is so much to be feared as fear." is the Thoreau quote at the bottom of this Pink Granite page. Twice in the last few weeks, I have come up against a raw, powerful fear in two different loved ones. Fear really can trump all else: reality, experience, test results, and doctors’ opinions. In both cases I had to fight down my own fears, which were stimulated by what I was listening to and trying to logic and feel my way through.
Fear sucks. I know that dreadful sensation when fear washes over me, making me feel hot and cold and weak all at the same instant. That sinking feel in the pit of my stomach, competing with my racing heart for my attention in a horrible moment frozen in time. Fear is so old, so basic to our fight or flight survival instincts. But it can run roughshod over facts and logic if we let it. Last year, I wrote here about my tendency to worry. I believe I’m making progress on letting go of that reflex to worry. Tonya’s comment on that post where she wrote: “worry will not effect the end result.” helped me a great deal. So does the advice (from Dr. Phil perhaps?) to answer the “What If” questions. What if this or that dreadful thing happens? Well, O.K., answer that question. What will you do, how will you respond and cope if that awful thing occurs?
As I listened to the anxiety in our loved one’s voices and felt that pulsing, ancient fear racing through the phone lines, I managed to keep my own fear under control. And even after I did what I could to acknowledge their fears and help them find their own way through them, I tried not to worry about it all afterwards. Because, truly, worrying won’t change the outcome.