I like how this topic calls us to name ONE of our greatest fears. Because we all have so many. And they often vary, depending on the season we are in in our lives. I know I’ve feared many things at different stages in my life.
Growing up I fear the presence of my evil older brother who never let the opportunity go by to make his mother and two younger sibs feel like the wrath of God was left in the hands of a mere mortal with too big an ego and too little humanity.
In school I feared being at the centre of any conversation, so when they called me into the office in fifth grade, to say that I’ve won the prize for best learner in the grade, I literally wet my pants in the presence of the highest authority in school. Heads or tail, I guess reverence and fear are two sides of the same coin, depending on what type of coin it is.
In prison I became what I feared in my brother: evil. Becoming the thing you fear is the worst thing that can happen to a person, because the very thing that scare you now lives inside of you. I also never feared death in prison, but I feared dying. I feared not being able to defend myself against whatever lot the gods have cast over me.
When I came out of prison I feared the judgmental glances of the masses who, for some reason can’t understand that prison doesn’t make you less human. That you still like ice-cream, and sunsets, and, and coffee, and the smell of petrol, just like they do. And as much as prison life never give up on trying to rob you of your humanity, and no matter how long you are there for, you’ll come out every bit as human as the guy behind a corporate desk, hating what his life has come to, never realising it could’ve been worse.
Surviving prison was the easy part. It’s life after survival that scared the shit out of me.
I feared, having survived the worst, that I won’t be able to make any good of whatever is left in me. I feared life had pulled a prank on me for five years. I feared that there was no point in me surviving prison. I feared that all the “God has a plan for you” talks was just a way of keeping everyone in line.
But there was a plan.
The tables did turn.
I was dealt a better hand.
But now I face fears of a different kind. Those fears that makes you compromise, and passive, and not wanting to risk all you have for the things you really want. And those fears are most crippling of all.
I fear not being able to be the best husband someday. I fear day-dreaming too much and forget what it feels like to grab an idea, a dream, or a goal by its throat and force it to cooperate. I fear life getting too comfortable. I fear succumbing to the idea that a car, a house, wife and kids, insurance and a braai on the stoep is what there is to adulthood.
I fear many things. But I’m not shrinking back from anything.
Peace to you.