Fear is a waste of time. Perfect love casts out fear that’s why we need a perfect God, but I didn’t always know how to push through my fear to find my way to Him. If fear grabbed hold, I would feel faint, a spinning outside of body kind of faint. Like in the early morning sleepless hours of a day many years ago when it had awakened me.
Fear had come to meet me face to face. I stood beneath the bathroom light, overwhelmed by what I saw in the mirror. It wasn’t there, my hair. That fear had held me in its grip over what seemed like my lifetime, stealing all sorts of things. It was a fear I never wanted to admit because I was so afraid of it. To speak of it, I worried, might make it happen. But also, because there were so many things so much worse. I was just being vain.
When the doctor told me I’d be needing chemo, I didn’t ask if I was going to live, I asked if I was going to lose my hair.
There you go. I’ve admitted to the superficial, unimportant fear that had once ruled over me.
I had begun to lose my fine silken mane when I stopped eating healthy food in college. It was after a trauma that I stopped eating. At first I didn’t care about my hair, but after a while I did and when it did matter, it robbed me of my confidence, and what self esteem I had managed to hold on to in spite of everything I had been through.
It would return again and again, unexpectedly, when I thought I was doing better and once again eating healthfully. At the time, I thought it was all about my hair, but now I can see it went so much deeper than that. It was all about life, about living a good life, about doing good work and giving back. Having good relationships with God and people. Why did that take me so long to face up to, in spite of my best plans and prayers? Well, God took over the steering wheel I was starting to lose my grip on.
As tears streamed down my face that morning when it was still dark outside and the light inside had revealed my loss, I went back to bed with a sense of wanting to give up on everything, but found instead that a message had arrived on my phone. Surely not all hope had been lost if I cared enough to open it up and read it. I went ahead, I opened it and found that my friend, Sarah, a poet, had sent a letter to Old Dog, Sam, who had died months earlier. Sammy, the Samster. Mr. Sam. She had written a letter to Sam apologizing it was late.
I only knew Sarah through blogging, we had never met face to face, but we had a spirit to spirit connection. And she only knew Sam through my writing about him. She had a spirit to spirit connection with him too. He had been gone for five months, she had pointed out, so how would she know that I would need her words that particular morning? She might not have, but God did.
Mr. Sam still comes up in conversations all the time. His photos pop up in social media all the time, too. Memories return of that sweet old boy we also called the Best Worst Dog ever. Towards the end of his days on earth, we made it through day by day with each other. There was a lot going on. He was helping me through losing my parents and sometimes, that was moment by moment. And that night, I was making it through moment by moment, as if Sam had come to comfort me, along with Sarah.
I know now, the Great Poet, the Spirit, comes into these moments, delivering His grace.
I read the letter and thought to myself, if my words could make it possible for someone to love Mr. Sam, someone who had only experienced him through my words, then I would keep writing. In spite of my vain self and my fear coming true, or because of it, I had received a renewed sense of purpose.
A peace descended over me at that three A.M. hour I had never experienced before. Peace like a River, they say.
I had never felt such peace in the midst of such fear. And that’s when the fear disappeared. I had stared my fear in the face and found grace. I was about to begin to discover a new journey with a new sense of joy. True joy. The kind of joy that can only come to us through our darkest struggles.
Because when a self is poured out, it is a self He can fill. With peace and joy and good purpose, according to His Plan, His Will. And that’s a good thing.
And that’s all I have to say about that!