Sometimes there is no accounting for our fears.
Now, I am not talking about the rational, based-in-logic fears. I am talking about our silly fears that can paralyze the human psyche.
I have a perfect example for you. I have a sister – her name will be withheld to protect the innocent – who is ridiculously afraid of frogs. I have no idea how this fear was founded, but it runs deep.
Frog gigging. I remember telling her that I was going frog gigging one night when we were teenagers, and she nearly disowned me. “WHY? How can you stand it?” she asked with panic rushing in.
I told her I had always wanted to see how it was done, and I wouldn’t be gone long. “Don’t you dare bring any of those things back here!” she said, pleading with me to be nice.
Ah, it was tempting to sneak a frog or two in to her closet, but I refrained.
Spiders. My friend Wendy was the strongest woman on the planet. She could tame wild-eyed horses that outweighed us all by several tons and not even bat an eye. I admired her pluck when it came to driving trucks and tractors and campers, parking in the tightest imaginable spaces without a moment’s hesitation.
But, if the tiniest of little spiders showed up, my brave, strong friend was gone. I mean Olympic-speed, get-out-of-her-way gone!
Snakes. I have another friend who nearly passes out at the very mention of the word snakes. I have to remember not to bring up anything about the species, even though I wanted to talk about a documentary I watched recently in which an older gentleman catches snakes and injects himself with a small amount of venom.
He feels certain it is keeping him vibrant and healthy well in to his golden years. The very mention of this story would have sent my friend to the outer limits!
Mice. For me – I don’t mind admitting – the great, silly fear is the fear of mice. How in the world did I survive on a farm with this paralyzing fear? I remember being sent out to the corn crib, being told to feed several ears of corn to the sows in the farrowing pens.
I would beg one of my sisters to go with me, for protection from those scurrying rodents. “It’s YOUR job,” I would be reminded. “You can handle it!”
Closing my eyes initially seemed like a wise move as I reached in between the slats of the corn crib. Then I worried that a mouse might run up my sleeve, so I changed my strategy. Eyes wide open, I would grab as many ears of corn as my little hands could reach, my panic rising like a tsunami.
If the corn suddenly shifted and fell, I would nearly die of a heart attack, feeling certain I was being charged by a thundering herd of tiny mice.
Growing fear. And that is the thing with our fears – they grow and grow and grow, fed by our horror.
If only we could pack up all the spiders and snakes, rats and mice, placing the unwanted creepy critters on the backs of all the frogs in creation and ordering those slimy green creatures to hop far in to oblivion, eating all the nasty bugs along the way, all would be well in the world!
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