Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Facing My Fears

I've just been reading Tuesdays With Morrie, by Mitch Albom.  I bought it used at a church rummage sale, on the urging of a friend -- he said should buy it and that I'd like it...... I did and I have!

Simply, the book details the relationship between a dying professor and his former student.  Morrie is in the last stages of Lou Gehrig's disease.  Mitch is in the mid stages of a lucrative career.  Both are living, both are dying.  However the one closer to death, is so much more alive.  He chooses to share his life wisdom with Mitch, who ends up more fully appreciating his day to day experience of life. He realizes that life is the journey, not the destination.

I've reached fifty and I realize that fear and guilt are two of the biggest contributing factors in how I live my life.  I come from a long line of fearful, guilt-ridden people, so I was taught by the best. Fear usually faces forward, guilt back. That leaves me pretty much surrounded. Fear, is worrying over things that might happen.  Guilt is fretting over things that have happened.  Both can be consuming forces that we must needs limit.  Both are counterproductive to living life to the fullest.  Faith can be a buffer through all of this, but I fear I am still woefully human, in my approach to life.

There are two distinct forms of fear that I suffer.  First is the fear of the unknown.  I fret about what might happen.  I worry needlessly about what will happen. I grew up in a financially poor home - we did not have indoor plumbing in our home until I was twelve.  That was also the first year that I made my acquaintance with a dentist.  So I quickly determined, that my children would not ever have to worry about having visible dental issues, or be ashamed to invite friends over because we used a thundermug.  Funny how times have changed.  My daughter's fears are:  not having the right brand of clothing or the newest technological gadget or sporting a non-existant zit.  Yes I've insulated them from the coarser issues in life, but I have also inadvertently instilled a deep-seated fear of whatever may befall them.  Perhaps it is genetic!

The second fear I have, and it is closely tied in with the first, I fear what other people think.  I am definitely a people pleaser, and I loath the fact.  As you can see, I fretted early about what people thought of my lack of dental hygiene, my lack of indoor plumbing, my lack of brand name clothing and my plenty of pimples. I still worry about what people think, not so much on the physical side of things anymore (I'm sturdy, get over it), but on what I say, and what I do with my time and resources. 

Fear is hard to control, when you have shaped your character around it.  Losing my job, late in my career years, and facing the uncertainty of a day-to-day supply teaching position, quite frankly scares the heck out of me.  But it also has some good lessons for me.  We can survive without a major safety net (read as secure job, reliable income, status).  Being able to survive, a little more hand to mouth, is actually a bit exhilarating.  I do sometimes look with a certain amount of envy at those around me who still have the secure job, the reliable income and the status that goes hand in hand with that.  But then I think to myself, if you were to lose all that, would you be able to cope as well as I have.  And it's funny, just in writing this, I wonder (translate - worry), what will my reader's think.  Ahh, the Musical Gardener has gone all philosophical and self-pitying on us today.  He should just stick to gardening and other pretty topics.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. Thanks for sharing. It's how we connect with other people.Having the rug pulled out from under us is always scary, but you're right it can lead to new feelings of competence. I think most of us struggle with worrying about what people think of us. As a parent I find I worry about what my kids' friends think of us,more than what people my own age think of me. It's an ongoing challenge.

  2. No worries man, I think you confessed to the fears most of us struggle with.

    Thanks so much for your candid post.

    God bless ya and have a magnificent day man!!!

  3. Fear has been an overshadowing cloud with me, too. I have looked back and seen how controlled I was by fear. I have determined just lately to purpose to be more motivated by intentional desire than fear, and some days I do better than others, but it's a positive step. Even taking the dog for a walk in the dark is something I could never have done even a few years ago. Of course, if I successfully dismiss the fear of the dark, I will soon have to get another dose of urban common sense!

  4. BTW when you last posted, did I successfully get rid of the word verification?

  5. No, don't stick just to gardening posts! I love posts like this; variety is good! Many of us struggle with fear and guilt. I did not grow poor (despite my mother telling me otherwise) but my Dad did and I know how much it affected his entire life. The things that happen to us have far-reaching and long-lasting effects that can take a long time to undo. I think you're doing just fine. :)


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