The Fear of Truth

Bismihi Ta’ala

Life goes on.  There used to be a television show by that name when I was young and for its time, I think it was quite a ground-breaking series, addressing social issues that needed to be talked about and changing the way people saw the world around them.  For me, just the title was enough of a thought-provoker.  Over the years, even as the names of the characters and the story lines have faded away, the fact that ‘Life Goes On’ has lingered on.

Things happen.  Good things, Bad things, Amazing things and Horrible things, but all of them pass away and we move forward.  Or rather, we are carried forward – whether we move or not is something we decide for ourselves.  When I look back at the past few years, I wonder at how much I have been carried and how much I have moved.

3 years ago my life was very, very different and I was different too.  3 years ago, I was going through a phase in which I had begun to step outside of my self and when I looked back from that ‘other’ point of view, I barely recognized the person I was becoming.  It scared me to think that I would stay that way permanently because it was a such a sad place to be.

When I look back, I can’t trace exactly how long that grey phase lasted.  If I was to estimate idealistically, I’d probably say six months or so.  If I was to be realistic, it was probably more like two years or more.  Sometimes, you sink so far into yourself, into a place where you shut out the light of everyone around you that if you let down a single shutter of the hundreds of windows you have closed, and a tiny ray of light penetrates through, it totally blinds you.  Sometimes, you only notice in hindsight that what you thought was full of colour, was really just a lighter shade of black.

I often wonder if I didn’t have enough ‘heart’ to remain in that emotionally traumatic place or if I had too much ‘head’ that enabled me to consciously drag myself out of it.  At that time, the thought that I was incapable of feeling as deeply and as vastly as the movies I had watched and the books I had read had told me I should, almost destroyed me.  I felt as if I was not human enough, simply because I was able to sit back, look at the facts, accept my mistakes and trust that with time, everything would become normal again.  I felt cold and clinical because I was able to keep moving, to self-analyse, to ‘know’ that there nothing grand or special about my little story and that as big, huge and life-changing as it seemed, it was only affecting me and no one else.   That there were 7 billion other people out there, each having their own stories – and some of them were way bigger than mine could ever be.

That doesn’t mean that it didn’t feel like I went to hell and came back again.  It was out of that dark place, after all, that I began my Letters.  And it was by writing the Letters that I was able to understand and learn so many things.  It was through the Letters that new people entered my circle who have enriched it and who have made me aware of things I had long forgotten and ignored. (Thank you all.)

Since then, I have moved on and I think I’m finally catching up with my Present.  However, what I find odd (and a little disturbing) is that in everything that has saved me and carried me forward to brighter promises of a different future, I have not found (yet) the depth of emotion that I had discovered within me while I sat in the shades of my soul.  This often worries me.

When I was angry, boy, was I angry.  I believe I compared it once to ‘an ocean of rage‘ and indeed, even in hindsight, I can remember the overwhelming feelings washing over me in waves of reds and blacks.  I can remember feeling very afraid under it all, that I would be swept away by those waves and never be able to find my way back.  When I felt hurt, it was so strong it became a physical pain that began in the moments before I resurfaced from sleep and stopped only after I fell back into unconsciousness.  These negative feelings were so powerful, they seemed to have a life of their own and took mine over.

Now, when I sit back and try to find those depths, they elude me…  Yes, I am happy – but in a calm, satisfied, content sort of way.  I am grateful, but with a down-to-earth, no-fuss thankfulness.  My world is full of colour, but it is real, normal, flawed, sometimes-yummy-other-times-yucky.  There is no heightened sense of delirium, no cloud nine, no seventh heaven phenomenons working in my space.

I wake up each day knowing that I have felt the Hand of God work in bringing me to where I am, but it was not a case of Him scooping me up out of one situation and dropping me in another.  It was more of a gentle nudge that He gave me, and then a series of stumbling steps that I took and suddenly it seemed the path ahead had set itself right and I could continue strolling along it.  The feeling of leisurely ease is much the same as one would feel if one reached out to straighten a crooked frame on a wall and then sat back and had a cup of tea in satisfaction.  There was little fuss and no drama.  So much so that now it seems to have been an almost effortless  journey.

In so many ways, I feel like I am only emerging from a deep slumber now.  That being able to so seamlessly adapt to new circumstances and new experiences has almost been like a healing, restful sleep and with this awakening is coming a sense of restless energy to get started on the rest of life. Now that everything has evened out and fallen into place, what next?  Where do I go from here?  There are so many options, so many possibilities…

But if I invest in them, then I will be embedding myself deeper into circumstances, which then awakens the strongest emotion I currently feel…fear.

A fear that comes with the knowledge that all this will – must – come to an end some day.  It is the reality of life.  If not today, then tomorrow and if not tomorrow, then the day after, all things have to pass away.  Is this why I am reluctant to immerse myself into Today more deeply? Because if losing something Yesterday that was fraught with doubt,  suspicion and shadow was such a traumatic experience, what would it be like to lose something that is real, solid and full of health and energy?

The tightness in my throat as I voice these thoughts, the flutter in my chest as I write these words, the hesitation in my fingers as I type out these statements tells me that the thought of losing something that I haven’t even allowed myself to become fully attached is strong enough to stir my soul.  That I am not so distanced from this world and its people that I can fly to my Creator without a second glance behind, even if it was in a simple, straightforward manner.

Shouldn’t my fear be for the opposite? Should I be afraid that I may never achieve the connection with God that I am seeking in Life?  What if I get so attached to this world that I lose the biggest Treasure that has ever existed?  What if I never feel the fear of losing the Pleasure of God?  The fear of displeasing Him?  The fear of not becoming the kind of human being He created me to be?  The fear of finding myself before Him with only the burden of shame and regret upon my shoulders…?

When I think these thoughts, I am left in awe for the people who gave up so much, who sacrificed those they truly loved, who laid their hearts bare in front of God and felt only His Love in every moment of their existence?  How is possible to understand the capacity and strength of their feelings?  I feel like a child, attached to a plastic toy, unaware of her own heart and its true volume.  I feel like I have wasted this precious asset that is my soul and that I have done nothing to tend to its wings and that it may never learn to fly, let alone  soar.

I guess what I need to figure out is what is stronger: My fear of staying forever grounded or my fear of flight…?

S’laams

bA

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