What is that? Fear?

We have entered some semblance of a routine around here. It isn’t like the old one, that routine is over for a while. Kylie and her mother being home allowed me to go for a nice six mile run. The weather is beautiful and it has been way too long since I’ve been out on the greenway. Of course, that led to some thinking (dangerous for me).

This might sound ridiculous, but we have all avoided public places since the diagnosis. Don’t get me wrong, everyone in our lives has been incredibly supportive. We all just find it tough to be in crowds. Her three sisters have had to go to school, so they have dealt with this quicker than I have. I have been working, but I work in a very small office so I don’t have to deal with crowds.

Yesterday, our dancer daughter had her ballet recital. My Lovely Wife and I split up and took in separate performances so one of us could stay with Kylie. While the dancers were beautiful, I found myself very sad when Kylie’s class was onstage. I couldn’t help thinking that she should be up there and I couldn’t take my eyes off of all of the perfect legs moving across the stage. Hers will be perfect again, it is just going to take time. I came in late and left quickly after it ended to avoid seeing too many people. What is that? Is that fear?

When did I start fearing? I’ve done some work in some of the worst slums in the world where fear should have been a legitimate reaction, but I felt a supernatural calm. What is this fear? Fear of people who care and show concern… What is that?

I am not an emotionally deep man, but I refuse to live in fear. That’s what I told myself as I ran today. Now, I have to decide what I am going to do about it. Am I going to be the leader here, or keep using the three that have faced the crowds at school as shields because I am afraid?

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4
I’m going to church now. Big step? Not really, but that’s what I am going to do. I am going alone because my older girls aren’t ready. I totally get that. Maybe I can deflect some of the questions today and next week they will want to go. I don’t know if that will work. Psychology isn’t my strong suit. But I won’t fear.

21 thoughts on “What is that? Fear?

  1. You will all get through this. Such a wonderful strong family could do no less. That doeznt mean you wont feel fear. It means you have each other while you work through it all. God Bless Mark.

  2. it’s a natural response to what is happening in your family’s life, and each time you are put in a situation to talk about it, even with the best of intentions from others who care, it becomes a bit more real and a bit of pain hits your heart once again, but that being said, people will embrace you in ways you and your family have never imagined. and it will get easier. and what you are feeling is all okay. over time, the more it comes up, the less power it gives to the situation and you will feel that too. hugs )

  3. My mom and I went through this when she was diagnosed. She was just so raw, emotionally, we couldn’t handle the best of intentions. We knew that everyone cared, we just needed some time to be able accommodate the needs of others who wanted to comfort. You are ok to be self protective for a time, and I agree with your other friends, this too shall pass, and you won’t leak when you are ready to face your community of supporters. You might find when you get to that point, you will be an inspiration of strength to them, and a powerful witness.

    1. It is raw. I like how you put that. We are getting there, crowds just seem totally overwhelming – even with the best of intentions. Thank you.

  4. I simply told people I couldn’t talk about it right now (to keep from falling apart.) I also talked to myself, out loud whenever my thoughts took a negative turn. It may sound crazy but it helped immensely.

  5. Mark. When you talk of Kylie and this cancer, you grab my insides and expose something so very precious. In all of us. Something not readily shared with a handshake and a look in the eye and a nervousness about what should be said, what shouldn’t be said, how it should be said, how it should sound, how it might taken, how it might offend. How a reaction and a response might be taken, or offend, or …

    This short post grabbed something inside very gently and exposed something so very precious in you. Something so precious in all of us. Something rarely spoken. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Paul. I could write volumes about it, but I determined that I won’t let it define me or our family. It is part of the journey we are on, and thus can’t be ignored either. I don’t think people have bad intentions when talking to us or anyone struggling with an illness. But it can be overwhelming to manage. I think I am forever changed in how I will respond to others facing similar issuers, though.

  6. Hi Mark. I agree that fear is natural. But I also agree that your plan to challenge and fight the fear is the right decision. When my husband was sick, every once in a while some thoughts that began with “what if?” tried to form in my mind. Battle was the only option. I know that my Lord said that He “has not given me a spirit of fear…but of power, love, and a sound and strong mind.” (2 Tim 1:7) It was a matter of choice for me to believe Him rather than the formulating thoughts that threatened to cause me so much dread. I encourage you in the battle of the mind. And I pray and trust with you that the God of the Universe has got the rest of it well in hand.

    1. Laurie, what a perfect response. Thank you. I firmly believe that we will fight this thing hard and win. If I doubt it even for a second, I lose that round. I don’t know how else to think.
      Thank you so much for your encouragement.

  7. Emotions can be strong little suckers. And so difficult to deal with. I can see why you feel fear. I have never had to deal with such a strong situation as the one you are facing right now, so I can’t say that I empathize. But I do sympathize. Actually, when I hear of someone that has contacted some disease or has experienced a death in the family, I totally don’t talk about it with them. I feel as if they’ve already had so many people talking about it with them, wanting to give them hugs, wanting to show their empathy/sympathy… I don’t really want to bring them down. I want them to know that they are a normal person and that they can be comfortable enough around me just to “be”– just simply be.
    God bless you Mark.

    1. It is a strange dynamic. You can’t sweep it under the rug, but I don’t want to rehash everything with every person. Odd, but I’m starting to face it and it is getting easier. Thanks

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