January 26, 2010
Now that’s a daunting title for a blog post, isn’t it?
I’ve been thinking a lot about fear recently, and forming some interesting observations, half of which I’ve most likely forgotten, because, man! do I have a hard time actually sitting down to blog.
(I feel like the apostle Paul, “I don’t do the things I want to do…” I really want to blog more, because I love the exercise of choosing words to express myself. I guess I lack some discipline.)
Maybe I will do a series on fear, because there has been a lot of things provoking fears in me, and causing me to observe the experience of fear in others. This is post #1, and I finally was motivated because a set of circumstances last week brought the topic to the forefront of my mind again.
Last week we had 3 days straight of pouring rain, lightning and thunderstorms. Super high winds. Chilly. Really extreme weather for us San Diego county residents. My children had various responses. Lucy takes things in stride. But this time, I noticed Bridget was really afraid of the thunder storms, and Phoebe, who is more anxious in general, decided to fill the role of “big sister comforter.” Interesting how consoling someone else either puts you in denial of your own fear, or at least distracts you so you don’t feel its’ effects so profoundly. Thursday night’s storm was bad enough that even Lucy, who happened to be up late reading, came slinking nervously into our room and gladly accepted the offer of climbing in bed with Dave and I for awhile.
Basically it was a week where the elements made us feel vulnerable. I think hearing the footage about the earthquake in Haiti underscored the sense of vulnerability, and how very little control we have over the earth we live on.
Friday morning came and it was sprinkling and the sky was purpley dark and looked threatening. The kids piled in the van to be taken to school. As I turned the corner near the school, I noticed several police cars stopped, lights flashing, and realized there was a search helicopter circling overhead. No one knew what was happening, but it was the “crunch” time of drop-off. The line of cars leading up to the school was long and moving slow. As we crept along, I suddenly realized the assistant principal running from car to car, briefly speaking with each driver. (As an aside, I don’t think I’ve often seen a more frazzled looking person in my life than this sweet lady at this moment.) She got to ours and instructed us that the school was in “lockdown,” to turn around and go home, keep the children safely with us, and check the website to see when and if the school would reopen.
We headed home, soon to be joined by cousins. The kids were having a blast, delighted to have a surprise break from school and playtime. I combed the internet for info, and got a call from the school explaining an armed parolee had evaded arrest and slipped into the canyon near our school. The one behind our house. Cop cars lined the road beyond the field the our house backs up into. The helicopter continued, announcing by that loudspeaker what the man looked like that they were hunting for. It was kind of intense. I found myself continually glancing out the back window, as if I’d catch a glimpse of him.
They never found him, and eventually school reopened (much to the kids’ disappointment.) (Although they ended up having a grand day at school, just hanging out and having fun. I think the teachers and students alike were a little worn out by then. )
Okay, now my story is so long, I’m out of steam to write about the fear that squeezed our home that day. The word “vulnerable” comes from a Latin word that means “to wound.” Isn’t that fitting? We all are wounded by this weary, groaning, sin-sick world. We’re all limping along, bravely trying to hold our fears at bay.
I’ll be writing more soon….