Fear and Rogue Wave

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Do you think God wants us to be afraid?

I don’t think He has a problem with the respect kind of fear that I had for my dad, and have for God. That fear is synonymous with respect, and doesn’t want to displease them,  so it cleans up my act. I think God’s OK with that. There’s the fear that happens when someone walks suddenly in front of my moving car, and I hit the brakes. I think God sees the need for that fear. There may be others in this camp. If you think of some, chime in please.

On the other hand, there’s another kind of fear that keeps me from living life to the fullest. That fear comes from the experience of consequences.

For example, a loved one expects that I read between the lines of what they say. I don’t, or I misinterpret, and the outcome is that I experience their rage. Now my relationship with that person is one of fear, especially if it is a power down relationship, like a boss/employee or parent/child.

Or I make the mistake of taking my eyes off my child, and in that instant an abductor makes off with my baby. How do I deal with the fear born in that moment? Does God have anything to do with it? This is the question I’ve addressed in my recently complete novel, Rogue Wave. If this line of thought intrigues you, please comment.

Wait, if this line of thought intrigues you, and you’ll leave your email address, I’ll send you the first three chapters of Rogue Wave. If you’d start a conversation with me, I promise to hold up my end.

 

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Fear and a Freebie

Rogue Wave, which I am coming to the end of producing, is about a woman who lets fear control her for thirteen years. After all this time writing this novel, I’m still mulling over fear. So this is thinking in print. Read to the end for a freebie. Hang on, here we go.

When have I been afraid?

When I’ve done something wrong, and feared people would find out. So then, I’d hide it or lie. That kind of fear has bad outcomes–distancing me from people I love, defining me as the stupid choices I make, starting a downward spiral. Those are just a few consequences I can think of. As I think back, it was only when I told someone the truth that I was freed from the tyrany of the fear. Though sometimes the process of freeing me took a while, depending upon the seriousness of the screwup.

Once I was left at the wrong baseball park to see a game when I was in junior high. By the time it dawned on me no one else was coming, night was falling. I started the walk home. However, it was autumn and when leaves skittered behind me I just knew someone with poor motives followed me. My walk turned into a run fueled by fear. I guess, in truth, there was really nothing to be afraid of. And yet the fear was real. Hmmm.

My protagonist isn’t afraid for herself, but for her daughter. I can relate to that because I’ve always been more willing to protect and defend others than I am myself. I hope I’m not the only one who does that, but I hope I wouldn’t do it for thirteen years. Only, I happen to know I’ve been really affected by stuff that happened in my life more than 13 years ago. How could someone who experienced something fierce manage to climb out of the fear it caused? Running doesn’t work. Fear goes with you, even when there’s nothing to be afraid of. I know from the basefall field experience. Counseling might work. Someone to talk it through with. Dang, there’s that talking thing again.

I remember once I saw two guys jump out of pickup trucks and just start beating each other in a gas station. Maybe it was road rage, or something. It’s frightening watching men fight with your own eyes, not like on TV. I was stopped at a stoplight, and about eight months pregnant, so I kept going. (It was before cell phones.) Only, I did feel fear. Violence is fear-causing.

I live a pretty comfortable, peaceable life. There’s not an occasion for fear except every once in a while. Some people don’t have that luxury. I’m thinking homeless people probably spend a huge percentage of their time afraid. Anyway, I would. Just imagining having to sleep in the open on a city street, freaks me out. I’d be afraid if I were getting my food from dumpsters what kind of destructive germs I might eat.  If I hadn’t had a shower in weeks or months, I’d be afraid to get close to other people.  Or what about people who live in gang-ruled neighborhoods? It would be so lousy to have to “not see” what happened right outside your house, or watch your children and grandchildren be pulled into that dark world. Fear.

My writing mentor, Ethel Herr, who now lives with God, once told me that if my writing held no hope, it wasn’t worth writing. Is there hope at the end of fear? I think the hope comes when we face the fear, evaluate what we can do, and do it. Whether it’s remove ourselves from the situation, confess, get counseling, stand up to the bully, or simply tell ourselves the truth. So, that’s what I think.

If you’d like a preview of Rogue Wave, I’ll send you a copy of the first chapter if you’ll leave your email address in the comments.

Perfection

Today Shiloh, my red Labrador Retriever, and I were surprised by a pitbull on the loose. We were walking along, practicing Shiloh’s training, when all of a sudden there was this extra dog right at my feet. Now, I believe I’ve heard rules for encountering pitbulls somewhere, but since there was no lead time, I just reacted with as much sense as I could muster. I was not perfect, not even close, or probably even wise. I just kept my bare legs in between the two dogs, calmly saying no,

magnifique ♥♥♥ go away. My heart was beating like a bass drum. Shiloh just wanted to meet this new friend. I was not friendly. I imagine there were warrior angels saying and doing a whole lot more than I did, because the pitbull went away. Phew!

But it got me thinking about perfection, which I believe this morning was proven to be an impossibility. I have always wanted to be perfect, and I know a lot of other people who feel the same way. And yet, there are all these rocks in the road. Unanticipated events, selfishness, time constraints, incapacity, etc.

But there’s another thing. I don’t think God even expects us to be perfect. He said we wouldn’t until heaven. Why do I want something He has said isn’t possible? One reason is that I hate conflict. My imperfection causes conflict, inside and outside myself. and yet, conflict is as sure a thing as perfection is unachievable. So, I’d be better off practicing my skills at resolving conflict than longing for perfection that’s never going to happen.

What are the conflict resolution guidelines? Lemme see, I’ve got time to think about this. No pitbull at my feet, and the fear factor has decreased. Ask questions first to be sure I understand the situation. Listen to what the other person says. Find out what they’re feeling. Speak in “I” messages. I need, I will, etc. Develop a plan that, if possible, will make both of us happy. Then work the plan. That’s not perfection, but it’s a good shot at it. Probably wouldn’t work with a pitbull, though.

Fear of Fame

I have a feeling that Toughnut Angel will soon publish somewhere. My first feelings are delight and excitement and anticipation. However, closely following upon their heels are feelings born of the thought that Nellie’s story will bring fame into my life. I do not desire fame. Fame takes away privacy and adds people who think you know everything about everything. I don’t even remember everything I’ve learned about Nellie, much less anything else. So fear is my next feeling. I follow that with a prayer requesting that God not give me fame.
However, there is no situation God cannot handle. I doubt that He will give me what I ask this time, about the no fame thing. I think He may be stretching my horizons, at 64 cotton picking years old. He’s like that. Just when you think you’ve got life figured out, He shows you the zillion things you don’t know spit about. I could kick and scream and insist, and He would give me what I’m kicking and screaming about, or back off me until I grow up.
However, I will not kick and scream. I’ve pulled that before, and it comes out badly. I have no idea where we’re headed, God and me and Nellie, but I trust God. If He leads me into the fearsome forest of fame, He will not drop me off to fend for myself. He will walk with me, and I will remain His kid. It will be OK. Jane, do you hear me, it will be ok! If you are looking at possibilities in life that put you in fear mode, all this about God is true for you, too, as long as you let Him lead. Have a good week.