As I walked up the hill this morning, carrying the chair on my walk with the dog, I glanced again at my shadow and I felt the heft of my Fear and noted today my greatest burden of Fear is for my child. Perhaps I delude myself or get preoccupied by life but I think most certainly a massive portion of the Fear I carry is for my child. You see, tomorrow I bring her to the airport so she can fly back to school on the East Coast. I am in Oregon. She's almost as far in the contiguous states as she can get away from where I am. We are very close and perhaps this is the best reason for her to be going to school far away. She needs to live her own life.
I am grateful. Immeasurably grateful she is going to a great school in a city she loves and has found a circle of people who love her, a family. And I have Fear.
I remember noticing her first independent movements as a baby-turning toddler. It struck me like lightning that from the moment she was born, my daughter began moving away from me. and every roll, every crawl, every step, every word, and so on and so on, was a further step away. I remember thinking "and someday the steps will be enormous." Well, yeah, here we are... And with every step away, the risk of a fall was there. A skinned knee. A missunderstood word. A messy choice. "The owies get bigger," my mother told me back then. I heard her. But today, I realize the risk for her pain increases but so does the risk for my own pain, the older she gets. Being a mother IS the best job in the world AND the most painful.
I have Fear around my daughter's life. I fear for her safety, for her well-being, for her happiness, for her fulfillment, for her longing and for her peace. Not to mention for her health, physical, mental and spiritual. Not that she's at any tremendous risk in any way; but she is just so precious and beautiful a gift to me and to the world and to herself. I feel to my deepest core the desire for her fullest life lived.
And I Fear I did not give her the pass codes to access that fullest life. I Fear her work-ethic isn't quite well-practiced enough to get her digging deep enough or in the best places within herself or her experiences to glean what she needs for her fullest life. I fear I was to hard on her. And I fear I was too lenient. Hard in the wrong ways. Lenient in the wrong places.... you get the idea.
Fear. When I took up the chair, I didn't realize how much is woven into my relationships with people. It's not just about what I fear. Spiders. Ghosts. Change.... Etc... Fear often-times is so entwined in my encounters with the people in my life. Not just mine but others' Fear/s as well. My Fears trigger theirs trigger mine sort of thing as well. From the quickest relationship with someone glancing at me in a coffeeshop afraid to speak to me because of the very thing they are curious about -- the Chair, to the deepest most complex and connected relationship with my daughter, Fear IS the watertable, the undercurrent. Right there with Love. The two flow constant and complex forever and always in every encounter. And in every encounter, from the most fleeting to the longest and deepest relationship, we choose our actions. We choose our focus. We choose to let Fear wash over us and carry us away or we choose to let Love wash over us ... and carry us away....
My heart flies to the East Coast tomorrow. This morning and for a good part of the day, I swam in Fear. This did not help the situation. My daughter and I fought, I am convinced, because of my wallowing in Fear/s. And now, as she packs in the other room, and as I finish writing this to go join and be with her, I am awash in Love (and gratitude).