Way back in my teen years, when I was at the height of losing kidney function, I sat down with the transplant nurse at the hospital. She explained a lot of things about what to expect if and when I got a transplant. The process, the cross-matching, the medicine, the follow-up visits, the everything about everything. When she was done, she asked if I had any questions. I thought over what she had just told me, shook my head and said no.
She seemed a touch angry when she said, “You don’t have any questions? This is very serious. I don’t think you’re taking any of this very seriously.” Then she basically said I shouldn’t even be considered for a transplant if I wasn’t going to take it seriously.
My quiet, shy, don’t-stir-the-pot, hate-confrontation-on-every-level self looked right at her and returned her scorn, “I understood Every Single Word you just said to me. What question would you like me to ask you?” It may not seem like a big deal to you but that was truly a bold move for me. I do not handle condescension well.
She sat and stared at me for moment, while I stared right back wondering why I should waste energy asking questions to make her feel better. I wasn’t an idiot. I comprehended, ergo no questions. Why didn’t anyone tell me I had to ask questions to be all serious-like?
I really didn’t like when adults would act like I didn’t have a brain to be found and that I couldn’t understand something “so very serious.” I was the one living it. I had already been told if there was no intervention I would die. It was my reality. Which part was not serious to me? Why should I have responded with the fear she and others so clearly expected? I would face whatever, whenever whatever showed up. Otherwise, I had a life to live before someone convinced me to be too afraid to live it.
Where did that girl go?
I think I got really tired of facing mountains. One more climb. One more time. Why can’t I just walk on flat surfaces for a while? Enjoy wearing rose-colored glasses while skipping down happy paths? Is it really too much to ask for every once in a while?
And then it started. This past year we have been in the good-things-are-happening lane of life. Every once in a while, the family and I will talk about all the prayers that have been answered in the past year alone — what has been provided and what we no longer have to pray for. I am truly amazed. Truly, truly grateful. Truly in wonder.
So, why then, am I also feeling more fearful, more often now than ever before? It’s just not like me to be this way.
Reminds me a little of Peter. Jesus told him to come out for a little stroll on the water. Peter said, “A-ight. Let’s do this.”
Duuuude, do you see this? I am walking on water. This is so cooooolllll. OMG. OMG. OMG. Annnndd, that was a big wave. Umm…
And then the sinking began.
Peter was a fisherman. He was used to the water, probably normally not afraid of being anywhere near it. Except, he knew he wasn’t supposed to be on it without a boat or a paddle board or something. He was in awe. Seeing what God can do versus what we naturally cannot, giving us a glimpse of who He is, can be a scary place to be.
We are so used to things being a certain way. We don’t handle change well — for good or for bad. When we’re not used to good, we don’t trust it. When you’ve been slogging it out for so long, how do you relax when you no longer have to slog? I feel as if I have been trained to not only expect to face difficulty, but also to live in it. How then do I learn to accept the good that happens without fearing that bad is always reaching my direction to destroy?
I don’t really have an answer for that right now.
All I know is when Peter was sinking and cried for help, Jesus immediately reached down and pulled him up. I have to believe that is how He is with me during this time I can’t quite shake the fear. He will not punish me for being afraid, but pull me up. He will walk me back, on the water, to the safety of the boat. I will be reminded once again that He will always be there with me to face whatever, whenever whatever shows up—even when it’s His goodness that scares me.
Maybe, one day, I will finally learn to accept His blessings without fearing what may come next. In the meantime, I have a life to live and I don’t want to convince myself to be too afraid to live it.