When Fear Overtakes

It was just a simple misunderstanding, but even after it had been cleared up, it took my heart a little time to relax and my mind to slow down enough that I could drift off to sleep. The wee hours of the morning had crept in and my very responsible young adult daughter wasn’t home yet. It wasn’t like her to be out so late, especially on a night before she had to get up for work the next day. Long story short, I texted her and didn’t get a reply. I finally called her. Twice. When she answered the second call, it sounded like I had awoken her. She was safe, sleeping at a friend’s house and thought she had texted me to let me know. I never got the text.

woman in dark

But this blog isn’t about my daughter. It’s about how fear gripped my heart and squeezed until I thought I’d have a heart attack. I’m not usually a worrier. I normally go to bed and sleep as soundly as a teenager on a school morning. I don’t worry about her because she has never given me reason to. She communicates when plans change or if things are going down differently than they normally do.

I can’t explain why I was so worried. Something just didn’t feel right. My mind started spinning out of control. What if she was kidnapped, attacked, or had a car accident? This is when it isn’t good to be a creative writer. I imagined cryptic texts she might send as she sneaked a message to me behind her captors’ backs. I pictured solemn-faced police showing up at my front door with the unthinkable news that there’d been a horrific accident. I pictured my face on the six o’clock news explaining the tragedy. I tried to convince myself that she was fine, that she’d just fallen asleep at her friends’ house before she had a chance to contact me. But that quiet voice of reason only whispered, while noisy fear shouted.

scared childSo what did I do? First, I found myself comforting my uneasy heart with the same things I used to soothe my daughter’s nighttime fears when she was a little girl. I recited this scripture from Psalm 56:3: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” (NASB). We used to sing that song at bedtime to drive away any fears that might creep in. You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwEXKPaG9Vg . I told myself that my fears were just made up. They weren’t any more real than the things children fear in the night. I breathed deep and slow. I shared my fear with my husband who assured me our daughter was just fine.

My fears held resolutely on.  It wasn’t until I heard her sleepy voice on the other end of the phone that its grip loosened. She was fine, apologetic, and would be home after work tomorrow. “Okay. I just needed to know you are safe.”

I was calm, loving, reassuring to her. After I hung up, tears stung my eyes and I heaved a giant sigh. I went up the stairs and into my dark bedroom. As I crawled under the covers my husband turned to me and even in the dark, I knew his eyes held question marks.

“I talked to her. She’s fine.”

My breathing slowed, my heartbeat relaxed, and soon I was asleep.

Tell us in the comments how you deal with fear, whether reasonable or unreasonable, real or imagined?

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