Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Dancing White-Clad
It wasn't saying goodbye that weighed heavy on me as we drove to the airport. Normally when my son would head back to school after winter break, I'd fight back tears all day long, knowing how long it'd be til he was home again.

Instead, fear blocked out every other emotion. Fear of a sky full of flurrying snowflakes. The roads weren't slick, we didn't have any of that wintery mix, just snowflakes that melted before they hit the ground. He drove because I was too afraid. We didn't really speak. I hurried to hug him goodbye at the curb, and drove away, scared to make my way home, back in January of 2004.

That long winter was spent watching the weather report every single night, then lying in bed worrying over tomorrow. Few commitments forced me to get out - mostly I hid at home, safe in my little comfort zone. At night, I sat up in bed with a workbook on "Overcoming Fear and Anxiety". It felt surreal. Was this really me? Me who has lived in the snowbelt my entire adult life. How on earth could this have happened, how did I reach this point?

The reasons that brought it all on don't matter. Black ice, blah blah blah. Whatever fear each of us faces likely has reasons, explanations. What mattered was that it felt like I'd never get past the wall I'd hit. Would I ever again look out on a wintry storm and take in the beauty of it? Snow that coated every branch like a slender white glove, snow dancing like young girls clad in filmy white fabric around the light of the lamp post, snow that made for a sense of adventure, tromping out in winter garb to clear a path to the mailbox, shouting out to the neighbors as they ventured out of their cozy homes. Snow that made a crunchy sound under my red boots, as I filled bird feeders for feathered friends. Snow coming down outside, making me feel blessed to be inside, curled up cozy with a cup of cocoa. I was inside allright, inside hiding in fear.

I was mystified - how and when had I fallen out of love with snow; instead of seeing God's handiwork, the beauty of the changing seasons, when had it become the three-headed beast that held me prisoner?

That winter, inch by inch, day by day, prayer by prayer, and with a deep realization that nothing feeds fear like giving in to it, I fought my way to freedom. It became a challenge, a test of faith - if I would trust enough to go out in it, if I would swing into action rather than be paralyzed with fear, God would not only keep me safe (which for some reason was never the point of it all anyway, I was never scared of being hurt, but rather, not being in control), God would help me overcome this. Actually, he would just do it all since I was helpless to do so. I didn't understand how I got to this point, I surely didn't see the way out. I took it one scary day at a time.

Today, sitting over a long cup of tea with girlfriends, inside a shoppe with no windows, the peace that sat softly on my shoulders felt not like something that called for fanfare, but rather quiet worship. I sat and sipped tea for well over an hour, fully enjoying the time catching up with friends. After a bit, saying goodbye, I bundled back up and headed out to see that Mike the Weatherman got it right. What greeted me outdoors looked like something out of a Christmas movie - huge, fat flakes falling down like nobody's business - the air filled with white-clad dancing girls. Surely they shouted out in victory as each stuck to the pavement when they landed. Snow will fall all through the night, while I'm inside enjoying a quiet evening, snow will greet me tomorrow as I pull on boots and head out to get the paper, snow will cover the deck and steps to the backyard, where the dogs will take it all in as a special present delivered just for them, and a crunch will sound under my boots as I take each step tomorrow, when I venture out to run errands. Powdery white snow will remind me God IS faithful, He "did not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Four years later, I'm amazed He ever brought me to that place. Surely it had little to do with snow, or driving, but rather coming to an end of myself, seeing how fragile I am at times, and then, day by day, trusting that the One I profess to follow really is faithful. If He's faithful then I can pull on those red snowboots, get in that car, and pull out of the driveway. If this faith doesn't equip me for living, then what good is it? How can I sell it to anyone else if it doesn't make a difference in how I live?

Maybe that's part of why I spent that time there, in that fearful place. Today, hearing snow crunching under my boots, this side of fear, deep inside, where it counts, I'm one of those white-clad girls dancing in the light around the lamp pole.


  posted at 6:10 PM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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