Moments ago I happened upon this little ditty: Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.
Doesn’t that sound nice? It’s kinda religious, kinda hopeful, and above all, kinda easy to follow.
Step Three: made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
However, when it comes to my fear, nothing’s ever easy. It seeps into everything I know to be good in my life and slowly rots it away with worry, paranoia, judgement, resentment, and anger. These are my five fingers of fear; the main bamboo chutes that sprout in my brain and grow at a pace to rival Jack’s beanstalk. Thoughts take root, then split, then twist and gnarl, then double-back upon themselves until I find it pointless to cut, the overgrowth so debilitating.
I mean, who in their right mind would be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful? Someone who fears they don’t deserve it, that’s who! And for me, beauty and fun and love and security and peace were put here for other people’s enjoyment. I’ve done nothing to deserve them. See, I still believe that happiness is something that needs to be achieved; the trophy at the end of a race I’ll never finish.
So what am I waiting for, then? Has it been so long since I’ve enjoyed something “just because” that the very idea has turned foreign and is now too embarrassing to try? Is that why I beg off social gatherings and get-togethers? Is that why I’ll never have another birthday party? Not only was I isolating from people, I was isolating from places and things as well. Why was everything so miserable? Why was everything made for everyone else?
Because I never fulfilled the second part of the sentence: “and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world gives to me.” Well, I never gave. I only took, because that’s all I thought I saw out there: it’s much, much easier to identify the takers than the givers. The takers were all around me, in every direction. The givers were invisible to me, as I was too busy receiving their hand-outs.
But as is so often revealed to me in the meetings and around the tables, turns out I’d been approaching the situation from the wrong way ‘round. It’s not about being nice so I might get something in return – that’s just a side effect, an added bonus. It’s about going into things with an open heart and a willingness that I used to leave out in the car. That’s right – I’ve destroyed happy events while crossing the parking lot. I’ve slaughtered entire evenings before ever leaving the house. I preemptively struck down any chance for fun, frivolity, normalcy.
Time has since passed, steps have been worked, and yet finding goodness to celebrate can still be a bugger. It’s such a new mind-set that sometimes I wonder who I really am, or was, or will be, based on my new and improved actions. Is this forced smile obviously fake, these eyes too wide open with practiced anticipation and excitement? Can everyone tell how hard I’m working at looking natural? I shouldn’t be sweating, should I?
More time has since passed, and this much I can report: The fake grin doesn’t feel as fake anymore.
Today: Occasionally recognize the progress, and ease up on the need to attain perfection.