Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"I Am Afraid"

Will you sit with me for a few moments? 

This is not going to be easy to write, and it may be dull to read. I beg your indulgence as I chip my way into this heaviness that sits squarely on my heart like a cinder block.

It's been here for over half a year, with me all the time. I can be at a party and be conscious of it pressed up against me, my invisible companion. I can wake up in the middle of the night and know that it is keeping watch over me.

Sometimes it makes its presence felt more insistently, grabbing me unawares and snatching my next breath clean away. But usually it's slumbering quietly, its dead weight making it difficult for me to concentrate, to sing, to play the piano, to be fully present to people and the world around me.

I know from whence it came; I know when it will leave me. It can cause me to sit for an hour or so, staring at the brown crumbling leaves clinging tenaciously to Franz, my Schubert cherry on the east lawn.

It has a first name: Fear. Its surname would be Grief, I suppose.

I know I'm not alone with these feelings. So many people dear to me feel the weight of various invisible but real troubles resting on their heads, their hearts, spirits.

I'm trying to name some of these fears; when you give something a name, that action alone defuses some of the power of the fear: 

  • getting behind in my job at Carswell
  • not accomplishing everything in time for every. single. Saturday. morning 
  • that one of my siblings will get seriously ill
  • that my Dad is tired or in physical distress
  • of all my receipts, resembling nothing so much as a garbage heap on the side of the road in Bangalore
  • that my nephews will be treated unkindly by the world
  • of driving on icy roads
  • that the TH will be a failure
  • that the TH will be a success
  • of losing my way  

Two gifts have been given to me as I wrestle with my burden.

One is a Psalm written by my friend Alex Rettie. He sent me this link earlier in the summer, just when I had started to figure out that it is fear weighing on my heart. This song encapsulated what I had been feeling. More importantly, it gave me a vehicle to offer my fear up to God:

The second is a Psalm written by King David of old. Psalm number 56 and verse 3 is what was given to me in answer to the anguished cry articulated for me through Alex's song. It's the reply to his prayer for help:

What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee.

It was God responding, "When you're afraid, trust Me ..."

The Psalmist goes on in verses 8 and 13:

Thou tellest my wanderings; put Thou my tears into Thy bottle - are they not in Thy book?

The sorrow and the grief and the heaviness? He already knows it. It's in His book. But yet it is costing the sufferer dearly, and so the request comes: please show me You appreciate my pain, confirm to me that You place a value on my sorrow and fear.

For Thou hast delivered my soul from death; wilt Thou not deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

What a wonderful note on which to end this Psalm of David. I can trust Him with my soul; surely then, I can trust Him with my daily journey! It is He before whom I am walking. He's close enough to me to feel my heart pounding; close enough to collect my tears. 

And so I will continue on ...


  1. Hey K, thanks for the blog post. Hope you are okay. Here's a link to one of my fav songs. check it out: ("Restless" by Audrey Assad)

    1. As Augustine said: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

      Beautiful song, Haupi. Thank you!

  2. i love you, dear karyn. praying for you from here - trusting that He will wrap His arms close around you in these moments and that as you are able to give each fear a name that you will find His Name stronger and more sure - a *very* present help in trouble.

  3. I understand... **hugs**

  4. " Surely in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest"...nothing can conquer you if you have conquered your fear....and the above line helps you doing that...

  5. I can identify, although my fears of course are different from yours. Unfortunately, your nephews, and my children will not be treated well by the world because that is what God's word says- that we will have trouble and tribulation here. I tell you that with a lump in my own throat and an ache in my heart as i hold my children up to God with the assurance that He holds them in His hands, and close to his heart and that he is trustworthy. May God give us wisdom to live and act as we should.


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