Friday, January 9, 2009


In my post yesterday, I chose to leave out what I'm about to post today. It felt too close to home, but I've changed my mind. Here it is.

We can do everything humanly possible--drive carefully, avoid dangerous places, eat healthily--and still not be able to ward off life's most fearful moments. The times in my life when I've felt the most afraid, most helplessly afraid, came out of of the blue.

A strange lump on my husband's leg led to several frightful moments, the worst of which was when, with a fever of 106, he looked at me with no recognition in eyes and told the nurse he didn't know who I was. Moments later, he was whisked to the ICU. I sat, overwhelmed by the fury of activities surrounding him, the questions, and mostly by his gaze. The man I was going to spend my life with did not know who I was. Even when the pulmonologist braced me for the possible bad news, it was still that look that haunted me.

Six years later, I felt the same lost-in-a-blackhole fear as I watched my 5-week old poked and prodded with needles and subjected to a battery of tests. Nobody gave us a straight answer to our questions. I still have the image of her lying tiny and still, swaddled in a contraption that kept her from moving as she got her CT scan.

My post yesterday left off at the conclusion that all fears boil down the fear that I do not have what it takes. The conclusion was incomplete.

There are times when I will not have what it takes. Can't help it. I'm human. But I have lived through two such experiences and emerged on the other side. Grace: that's what got me through. What I know now, conceptually and experiencially, is that when I come to the end of my own capabilities to face fear, it may not be the end of the story.

By the way, both my beloved survived and are healthy, laughing, and grabbing life with both hands.

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