There is no fear in love.
But there is fear in my love. It has fingers–and sometimes even teeth–that threaten to destroy what I have built with him. The moments of panic become a haze of nearly tangible anxiety. As time goes on, my fear both grows and ebbs. The spiral begins with the simplest and most seemingly innocuous of comments, statements or observations–typically from those who love me most. In their desire to protect me from harm, they amplify fear’s whispers into shouts. They state their thoughts with wisdom tinged in cynicism, and I am left reeling.
When their words slow, diminish, I am too often demolished by the sum of their fears and mine. And in the silence, questions swirl: Are my fears grounded? Are theirs? Or are they an echo of past disappointments and heartbreaks?
Is all that I sense, know and feel real–or merely the creation of a lonely heart?
In my most rational and fearless moments–the moments where I am with him, breathing in his scent and life–I know the answers. I uncover the questions’ fallacy, their irrationality. But there exist so many spaces where I am not fearless.
The true query is not whether or not I love him. The question is whether or not I should. For will my love prevail and last the test of time, life, pain, joy and fear? Or will I destroy us both? Is the fear that tinges my life merely an echo, or is it reality?
These thoughts haunt my heart when he is far away. In the silences, the unshared moments, I forget him and who he is–who we are–and see only my fear opening its mouth to swallow me.
Then I feel him lace his fingers through mine, or hear him say my name or turn myself over the the One above all else, or sense a gentle correction from my Savior.
And I know.
Submission. Surrender. Repeat.
My spirit knows that for the rest of my days, even my most fearless of moments will likely hold that slight shadow of truth. My scarred heart is too imperfect to resist fear’s quick whisper. But my God–and this man before me–push back its shadow so that I can stand. So I do. And I keep moving forward. In their strength, I find my own once more.
Yes, there is still fear in my love.
Yet each day, I will heed my Savior’s whisper more deeply: “Do not dwell in the shadow, nor the echo, of fear. It has held you captive for too long. No more, my daughter.”
Now as I lay me down to sleep, I will remember that my feelings–even the strongest fears–do not define my reality, only my perception of it. I cannot rest on such shifting sands as these.
Instead, I shall look to my unchanging Father. I will think. I will reason. I will question. But I will no longer live bound by fear.
Fear shall hold my destiny no longer.