Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 2 Meditation Moment - Set Aside Every Fear


For me, parenthood is fear incarnate. From the moment Edie was born I discovered a level of terror and anxiety the likes of which I had never before encountered. This incredible weight of responsibility for an actual life, realizing that if anything happened to her it would be my fault was paralyzing.

The thing is, things have happened to her. Things that could have or should have been prevented. I was taking her out for a walk in her stroller when she was around 1 year old, possibly younger. There were long, gently sloping steps that led from our front door to the cul-de-sac. I remember putting on the brake of one set of wheels as I turned to lock the front door. I remember losing physical contact with the stroller. I remember watching with absolute horror as the stroller seemed to roll in slow motion down the steps, tipping my daughter face-down onto the street as I could not get my arms and legs to move quickly enough to stop it.

As I pulled up the stroller and unbuckled her from this contraption, thoughts of stitches, concussions, comas and paralysis flooded my mind. She screamed. She cried.

I cried.

We didn't go for a walk that day. I scurried with my baby and my fear and my shame indoors.

When I had examined every millimeter of her body, there was only the faintest pink mark the size of a quarter on her forehead. I have to believe that the restraints in the stroller and the angle of the handles didn't allow her head to more than graze the ground.

Fear has prevented me from taking my daughters to some activities or even some vacations. I've mellowed out considerably, but the what-if's are never far from my thoughts.

Yes, there will be moments when we get chipped, cracked or broken, That's a part of life and it is what makes us who we are. And while it is a natural, and even helpful, reaction to strange or dangerous situations, fear can be crippling, it is not life-giving - it can take you out of the game. Sometimes completely.

Fear is what we allow it to be, gigantic or miniscule. If we can minimize it, if we can set it aside, we have the opportunity to meet more people, try new foods, hear new music, see new places, experience more life. And not only is it possible that we'll like it, we may discover our new niche.

Today I intend to set aside every fear, as St. Catherine of Siena encourages. I will acknowledge my fear exists in interactions or wanting to protect my children, but I will step forward in greater faith when the size of my fear is incongruent to the situation at hand. I will remember that I am not alone, and I will look at the greater opportunity of experiencing life as it comes.