“Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small.” – Ruth Gendler (artist, author, and teacher)
What is fear, really? When I was little, I would lie, petrified, under my covers, absolutely certain that the vampire outside my window, the witch in my closet, and the mummy under my bed were going to band together and do away with me. When I would use the restroom at the grocery store, the dimly buzzing and flickering florescent lights reminded me of many scary movies I had inadvertently seen as a child. I would picture the Elephant Man (a frightening specter for a small child) shuffling along to stand in front of my stall door and wait for me. I often held my feet up to hide. When it was time to exit, I had to take my courage in both hands and rush for the door. This kind of fear of imaginary monsters and ghouls plagued me as I grew up. I would feel the weight of it pressing on my chest after I woke from a nightmare, afraid to move, afraid to go back to sleep.
When I was older, I became aware of the evil in the world and things lost a bit of their sunny, golden glow. Monsters came in the shape of people. Right before I entered my 20’s, I invited fear into my life on a personal level. I lived with it, slept beside it, and did it’s laundry. Far more unsettling than a monster on T.V. or in a bad dream, domestic violence can give its victims scars that are long to heal, and fear that never truly goes away.
A long 8 years, I was married to my ex. Occasionally, I am still haunted by the things that happened, even after I have been free for so many years and now re-married. I spoke, recently, to a friend who has similar ghouls haunting her from time to time. Many, like us, have experienced this. Many have overcome it and rebuilt their lives. Many more, however, are imprisoned by these bars that other people fail to see. For all of those, everywhere, in every country, who have faced down this monster, I want to say’ Never give up! You cannot know what your life can be like, what dreams can be born anew inside of you, the things you love, the people that make you happy that you now never see. There is hope as long as there is life!
It is Spring, the birds are singing, the sun is warm upon the earth, and life is stirring beneath the ground. It must be beautiful. But the walls of my prison close in around me, shutting me off from the light and beauty. There is no warmth left in the sun for me.
It is Summer, the rivers are flowing, the children are playing, there is laughter and sunburn and days at the beach. It must be beautiful. But the walls of my prison close in around me, shutting me off from the freedom and heady joy of the season. I am left with the marks of ugly purple bruises on my body and in my soul. The sun’s rays cannot reach me.
It is Autumn, the trees are blushing from gold, to rust, to scarlet, the smell of rain is in the air and the air is crisp and pure. It must be beautiful. But the walls of my prison close in around me, barring me from the rich earthiness of the season as I wait for winter to overtake me. The sun’s light is almost gone now.
It is Winter, the crystal flowers on windows and leaves sparkle in the morning sun. It is a diamond world and the trees are painted with frozen mists like treasure dust. It must be beautiful. But the walls of my prison close in around me and the winter’s chill creeps into my bones. There is no comfort from the sun, all is dull and grey.
NOW I AM FREE!!
It is Spring and I can delight in the budding life around me as I experience my own rebirth. The trees are pricking with buds and the earth is pierced with a million tiny tips of green. The sun’s warmth caresses me as I stand with upturned face. It IS beautiful! The walls of my prison have crumbled all about me, allowing me to feel the warmth in the sun and see the wonders around me.
It is Summer and the intoxicating heat vapors rise and the shade feels so good. I hold a cold drink in my hand and laugh at the skinny dippers at the beach. I scratch my sunburned skin and revel in the freedom from ugly purple bruises, on my body and in my soul. I am free and it is beautiful! The remnants of my prison walls steam with the heat vapors from the gorgeous, gorgeous sun.
It is Autumn, and the air is crisp and earthy, the trees are like a giant’s bouquet, and all the little and big creatures scurry and stamp about to horde their provisions for the coming months. It IS beautiful! The walls of my prison lie in ruins all about me as I laugh and watch the world changing once again. I have no fear of privation, I am free.
It is Winter, the frost flowers glow from the sun rising behind them. The lawns twinkle and sparkle and the trees are all painted silver. The pond is frozen over, the children waddle about like fat penguins bundled against the cold. It IS beautiful!The walls of my prison disappear and are forgotten under a cleansing blanket of snow. I know tomorrow will be even better than today for I have hope and the taste of freedom is like nothing else. I am FREE!! ~ Copyright J. Nekut
Fear is a prison. Sometimes the bars are invisible, sometimes not. Whatever you give yourself over to can control your entire life. Do you want to give up the chance for freedom? Maybe it will go away? Maybe they will change? Fear is not a kind master, and you will end up paying with your life.
Although not everyone’s experience will be the same, many of those who have suffered abuse have similar experiences of shame, guilt, confusion, fear, and a feeling of hopelessness. Men, women and children, over the world have experienced the monster of abuse up close and personal. Some never live to tell the tale. If you are one of these precious souls, I urge you to get help. If you know someone who deals with this, do whatever you can to help them. Peace is priceless, and there IS another way to live! Things can be different, you can be FREE!!
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation. ” Psalm 91
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