As some of you know, I traveled to California to visit my family over the weekend. Specifically, to spend time with my older sister who has been diagnosed with a form of dementia which has progressed much further than I had realized. The change from the last time we were together was stark and undeniable.
My first reaction was that of shock and a sense of helplessness. From there, it went to how to cope with the situation at hand by being positive with the rest of the family (and myself) so that we could create some lasting memories. And that we did. It was a time of bonding, sharing our hearts, and spending time together that I’ll hold onto in the months ahead.
On the trip home, I had more time to contemplate what we’re facing as a family, and individually. The thoughts of ‘what’s next?’ and ‘why?’ were running over in my head. Emotions ranging from grief, pain, and feeling helpless all consumed my mind. But, there was one emotion I couldn’t put my finger on until I came home and had time to process things even more.
This is allergy season in Texas and I always get sinus congestion in August & September due to the ragweed. This month is no different and I’ve been combating it with meds, but still have the stuffy, pressure behind the eyes, and cloudiness that comes with it. Normally, not a big deal. Just something to work through.
This time, that other emotion I’ve been trying to identify since being home, began to hit me when these normal allergy symptoms started getting tied with what we’re now working through. The end result, without any doubt, was the overwhelming emotion of fear.
I’ve been praying about what I’ve been feeling and trying to process through the emotions all yesterday and today all the while trying to keep a clear head at work. It’s been challenging to say the least. The one emotion I couldn’t put a finger on became clear. Fear was raising its ugly head and starting to speak to me. ‘What if you have the same thing? Who’s going to take care of you? What will the Mrs. do? How will you manage work? Should I get tested? It must run in the family and I’d better start thinking about what to do just in case…’
The emotion became almost paralyzing when combined with the effects the allergies have been causing with my mind getting cloudy (combined with some jet lag to boot…). The reality is, the two have no correlation, but fear makes the mind go places that aren’t rational.
Once I realized what that emotion was, I quickly gave it to God and prayed. I’m not going to let fear rule my mind or heart. Sure, some questions are valid, but if I let fear take over, I’ll go crawl into a hole somewhere and be unable to function. Fear is by far one of the hardest emotions to deal with. It’s at the root of so many of our daily processes and, ironically, contributes to our safety by keeping us from doing foolish things. Left unanswered, however, it will take over, and that’s not what I want, nor what my family, or the Mrs., needs.
I made the mistake of sharing some of those thoughts with the Mrs. She later told me I terrified her because she began to fear the same things. Lesson learned. Fear thoughts are infectious, and they spread between those we love.
Thankfully, I recognized what was happening and took control of those emotions through prayer. Thank God that He’s greater than anything we face in this life. His peace can calm the storms in our hearts. And in our minds. His grace is sufficient for every circumstance.
Tonight, I will not fear. I will trust in Him. I will rejoice in His goodness and will share His grace with others. In my weakness, He is made strong. In Him, we have hope for tomorrow and, in that hope, I will put my trust.
Love always my friends,