Sunday, August 21, 2011

On when I wobble, but do not fall

Those who know me, who are as close as I let people get to me, to what has been a fragile soap bubble of self, know that I have said repeatedly this year, "The past three years have been so hard.  I don't know how much more I can take."  The thing is, when I wrote all of those things in January, I had no idea that it was going to get much worse before it got better.  I did not know that I would come too close to losing a child myself.  I did not know that my marriage would falter.  I did not know that the search for a job would still be going on to the point of desperation.  I did not remember that it is always darkest before the dawn.  So I let the dark frighten me.  I closed more and more of myself off with each new hurt, with each new harsh and painful event until I was alone and afraid.

Then I became angry.  I have made a point to live my life without a spirit of fear, or so I thought.  I am not afraid to try new things, to try and fail and try again.  I decided to take my life back.  Once again I was going to live with purpose, and flair, and gratitude.  But it is not always easy because sometimes the fear comes back so hard and fast that I feel like I am having an asthma attack.  I am knocked breathless and shaking and I hate it.  It is then that I wobble, that I feel that sense of complete vulnerability just like the moment when I hit a bump on my bike and I don't know if I will fall.

But those moments pass.  I take a deep breath and remember all that I've been through in the last three years.  I think about what could have been and what was instead.  I think about how God delivered me, not in a blazing fire by night, or discernible cloud by day, but in little increments.  And I know why they were little.  Because little by little I let go of the fear I did not know was fear.  I let go of my need to know, to control, to look like I had it together when I did not.  I had to let go of the fear that had been with me so long I did not recognize it for what it was.

I wanted to do something different to celebrate this decision so I decided to conquer the one fear I had left from childhood.  I had long ago learned to light a gas stove (no explosions!), refused to be afraid of spiders, and went camping with a gaggle of girls and moms without my husband to protect me in the dark. I decided to learn how to ride a bike.  I thought I had a good chance at this since my repeated exposure to roller coasters since I married into this clan.  I could now ride those without feeling like I was going to die.  Surely a fall from a bike would not be as bad as the fear of my cart somehow leaving the tracks. Perhaps a little gravel or blood, but I'll be honest, I take that chance every time I walk through the yard because I am a total klutz I am not that coordinated.  My childhood experiences with this had been faltering.  The fear that came over me when I took that second foot off the ground to push down on the pedal and thrust myself forward, suspended on a thin framework of metal with no seat belt or safety mechanisms at all had always defeated me in the past.

So Barry and I took the bikes that had been given to us by a generous friend who was moving, that had leaned in our outbuilding gathering dust, tires slowly deflating, and went.  Bike helmets and water bottles in tow we headed to a bike trail near the river and in the summer of drought, of doubt, of fear, I learned how to ride a bike.  It was not a pretty sight.  I wobbled and jerked and glanced fearfully at the gravel path, but I did not fall.  Time after time, in the hot dusty days of a too dry summer, we went back until I was not afraid, until I could ride faster and longer, until I was not watching gravel, but thinking about how amazingly free it felt to ride.  This, this is how I want my life to be. 


neisimartin said...


George & Angelia... said...

Oh I'm so proud of you!! So glad ya'll had a good time riding, and happy about the new job too! Having said before as well... ~Thangs is lookin up!~ Tiz true, HE never lets us stay down for long... it just seems like it when you're in the middle of it... and believing lies from the Hated One. Love ya sweet friend, can't wait to hang out again! ;p ~ang