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
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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.

A Rant from the Pulpit

Today, a word from the Reverend Josiah Crane, who has been the preacher of the Goose Creek Country Church in Portsong for as long as anyone can remember. He’s a masterful orator of the Scriptures, but could be described as somewhat distant when it comes to the shepherding side of his calling. In his own way, he cares for the souls of his flock very much.

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I see you there.

I know you are squirming in your seat and I know why. What I just said hit close to your wandering heart…that is what the bead of sweat on your forehead tells me. A more compassionate man might offer you his handkerchief to mop your brow. But I say, better a little sweat now than hellfire for eternity!

So while you think I am speaking to the back wall, know that both God and I have you in our sights. Neither of us is oblivious to what goes on in these holy pews. For example:

1.  I know the children count the number of times I hit the pulpit every week and even play a little game with it. While I don’t condone wagering, I have stacked the odds for a couple of my favorite little lambs over the years.

2.  I know precisely what time it is. If you think repeated checks to your wristwatch will give me a subtle hint, understand that it only makes me slow my pace. You’ll get to your precious lunch, even if the Lutherans beat you there.

3.  You cannot hide your dozing off – see point one, that’s why I pound the pulpit. When your head bobs up and down, I assume you are agreeing with me, which stokes the fire of my verbosity.

4.  I do not believe in alliterations or acrostics like some word game player. I’ve got the Scriptures on my side and I don’t even care for the little numbers that man added.

5.  You are absolutely correct – I do, in fact, like to hear myself speak.

6.  I will not tell you how old I am or what year I was born! Before you were, I was. No one is going to win that bet. You may as well put the proceeds into the offering basket. I am not older than dirt, but recall firsthand accounts of its creation.

So next time you think you are pulling one over on the old preacher, remember that I have been doing this a long time. Ecclesiastes chapter 1 and verse 9 tells us, “There is no new thing under the sun.” I’ve seen quite a few suns rise and fall. Further, I’ve seen all the tricks.

I hope the old Preacher will forgive me the edits I made to his submission. He sent me 3491 words that I condensed after dozing off a few times. If you have any memories of being terrified by an old preacher, then you can identify with my friend, Virgil Creech – who is more than a little afraid of the Reverend Crane.

Virgil Creech

Photo Credit: National Galleries of Scotland Commons from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK via Wikimedia Commons